The latest offering from James Ehnes is an outstanding 2-CD set of the Complete Works for Violin by Sergei Prokofiev. Gianandrea Noseda conducts the BBC Philharmonic in the Violin Concerto No.1 in D Major and the Violin Concerto No.2 in G Minor on disc one, and Andrew Armstrong is the accompanist for the violin and piano works on disc two. Ehnes gives thoughtful and sensitive performances of the two concertos, and is given perfect support by Noseda, a conductor who has few equals when it comes to drawing nuanced, sensitive playing from a large orchestra.
Although Korngold’s ‘complete works for violin and piano’ make up a reasonably full disc, it is only fair to point out that the Violin Sonata is the single work that is not an arrangement from one of his other pieces. Yet this Sonata, written at the age of 15 for Carl Flesch and Artur Schnabel no less, is a fine example of his early style, with its echoes of Zemlinsky and early Schoenberg. The young Dutch violinist Sonja van Beek and German pianist Andreas Frölich negotiate its challenges with ease: as in Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata, the pianist has as tough a role as the melody instrument. Much Ado about Nothing is one of several arrangements of a suite of four movements derived from incidental music to Shakespeare’s play written in 1918, performed here with affection and a silken suavity. The remainder of the repertoire is made up of arrangements of Korngold lollipops, hit numbers from his operas, such as the unforgettable ‘Marietta’s Lied’ from Die tote Stadt, arranged by the composer as salon pieces and popularised by Kreisler and his ilk.
The complete Works for Violin and Piano of George Enescu - The Romanian musicians Remus Azoitei and Eduard Stan interpret the Works of Enescu with intuitional understanding for his multifaceted music - Including the famous 3rd sonata op.25 dans le caractère populaire roumain - No need to look any further: this is a first-rate collection."" Gramophone Of all of Enescu's works for violin and piano, the 3rd Sonata Op. 25 ""dans le caractère roumain populaire"" (""in Romanian folk character"" ) composed in 1926 is the most famous and stands roughly in the center of his work for these instruments. In addition to the two other sonatas, a dramatic sonata torso in A Minor, the ""Impressions d' enfance"" and some smaller works have survived.
French piano star Jean Yves Thibaudet is joined by young Chinese violinist Yue Deng for this album of intimate classical music for piano and violin by the celebrated jazz composer/ arranger Claus Ogermann. Grammy Award Winner Claus Ogermann is a musician of rare breadth and versatility who has worked with all the great song stylists including Frank Sinatra, Stan Getz, George Benson, Nelson Riddle, Astrid Gilberto, Michael Brecker and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Well known for recent collaborations with Diana Krall (including the album The Look Of Love), Claus Ogermann has also written works performed by legendary pianists Bill Evans and Glenn Gould, and is the arranger of the classic recording of The Girl From Ipenema. Classical style has always been important to Ogermann, and his compositions include concertos-both classical and jazz- a song cycle (premiered by Brigitte Fasbaender and an orchestral suite commissioned for the American Ballet Theatre. Praised as "one of the most exciting talents before the public today," pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is renowned for his eloquent phrasing, lustrous colors and brilliant technique. His poetic interpretations have won him a following throughout the United States and around the globe, having performed with virtually every major orchestra in the world. Yue Deng is one of today's outstanding Chinese violinists, having trained in China and at New York's Juilliard School.
Playing the 1716 Booth Stradivari, violinist Arabella Steinbacher plays Johannes Brahms’s three Violin Sonatas, as well as the Scherzo he contributed to the FAE Sonata, with a prepossessing tonal command, captured and reproduced by PentaTone’s engineers, who have balanced both performers close up yet communicating a sense of the venue’s spaciousness (the recording took place in September 2000, at the Concertboerderij Valthermond). In the Vivace ma non troppo of Brahms’s First Violin Sonata, Steinbacher mixes strength and tenderness, exhibiting a wide dynamic range that the recorded sound has transmitted to the listeners. Robert Kulek’s introduction and accompanying figures at the second movement’s opening also reverberate warmly in the ambiance underneath Steinbacher’s sound, especially thick and honeyed in these passages (even at times recalling Mischa Elman’s fabled tone).
James Ehnes has previously explored Béla Bartók’s concertos for violin and for viola, to great acclaim. This disc is the second in his equally successful survey of Bartók’s chamber music for the violin. His accompanist, once more, is Andrew Armstrong, a pianist praised by critics for his passionate expression and dazzling technique.