Kernis & Howard: Violin Concertos (CD)

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James Ehnes, Andrew Armstrong, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Ludovic Morlot, Cristian Măcelaru

Three works written for James Ehnes, and receiving their premiere recordings. James Newton Howard’s music will be familiar to movie fans the world over. His 120 film scores include ‘The Prince of Tides’, ‘Michael Clayton’, ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’, ‘The Village’, ‘Defiance’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ (the recording was produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett) and he is one of the most respected composers currently working in film. Commissioned to write a concerto for James Ehnes and the Pacific Symphony, Howard admitted to feeling ‘thrilled, excited, expectant and ultimately terrified’.

Pulitzer Prize (String Quartet No.2) winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis first composed for Ehnes in 2007 ‘Two movements (with Bells) and a few years later the violin concerto followed.

Bramwell Tovey and James Ehnes musical relationship goes back to 1990, and they have performed together countless times. Stream of Limelight gives James’s incredible technique ample opportunity to dazzle, and is a superb finale to this fascinating album of new compositions.

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BBC Music Magazine

5 Stars

"This disc showcases three commissions aimed squarely at the Canadian virtuoso’s dazzling skillset. At the centre is a concerto by James Newton Howard…The work is lyrical, wildly cavorting and – in the Andante semplice second movement – sweetly poignant. Aaron Jay Kernis’s preceding concerto requires Ehnes to delve even deeper into his virtuoso’s tool kit. With a highly charged first movement, Kernis sets out his stall with intense drama, before a fabulous film noir-ish second movement"

Gramophone Magazine

"There’s some entertaining, dazzling, smile-inducing, toe-tapping music here but I can’t give you a cast-iron promise that there’s much more…Ehnes’s characteristic sweetness and tenderness married to unerring strength and direct musicianship are on display in all three pieces."

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Aaron Jay Kernis: Violin Concerto
James Ehnes
Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Ludovic Morlot

James Newton Howard: Violin Concerto
James Ehnes
Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Cristian Măcelaru

Bramwell Tovey: Stream of Limelight
James Ehnes, Andrew Armstrong