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.
Third release on Ondine by the Austrian star violinist Benjamin Schmid contains fresh arrangements of well-known piano pieces by Shostakovich and Prokofiev for violin and piano. Also included is a suite transcribed from Kurt Weill's iconic ‘The Threepenny Opera'. All the three original works by the composers were written during the 1910s and 1920s.
Following the successful release of the Grieg Violin Sonatas, Franziska Pietsch and her piano partner Detlev Eisinger now present music by Sergei Prokofiev on the audite label. His works reflect facets of her own biography to a significant degree. As an emerging talent in the GDR, Franziska Pietsch enjoyed special state support; her musical training was thus initially shaped by the Eastern European school, bringing Prokofiev's music close to her heart. His two Violin Sonatas appear as two contrasting poles within his oeuvre - her life has also moved between extremes. The state support led to early success in the GDR. However, her father's escape to the West in 1984 was followed by two years of reprisals by the regime, intensively shaping Franziska Pietsch's understanding of music: deprived of any possibility of playing concerts or taking lessons, her chosen path towards hope - against desperation, refusal, fear and despotism - led inwards.