James Ehnes at the 2007 BBC Proms:

Jul. 25, 2007 | Review


July 23, Recital at Cadogan Hall:

“Earlier, at a lunchtime Prom in Cadogan Hall, the fine Canadian fiddler James Ehnes and pianist Eduard Laurel had premiered an intriguing work by the American composer Aaron Jay Kernis called Two Movements (with Bells). The bells were well hidden in the piano texture, but the piece was superbly crafted, rhythmically charged and full of surging, sometimes angry emotion…”
(The Times)

"..In Monday lunchtime’s Proms chamber concert, Ehnes, with his regular pianist Eduard Laurel, made no less striking an impact in a deeply thoughtful performance of Elgar’s Violin Sonata, combining emotional power with wistful delicacy, enriched with that subtle mix of light and shade, boldness and restraint that makes the work such an endlessly fascinating subject for interpretation.”
(The Telegraph)

“The Elgar was fervently played by Ehnes and Laurel who commanded Elgar’s twists and turns...”
(classicalsource.com)

July 25, Concert at Royal Albert Hall with the Bournemouth Symphony, conducted by Marin Alsop – Samuel Barber’s Violin Sonata:

“In between came one of the most beautifully poised, heartfelt accounts of Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto it would be possible to imagine. The soloist was the young Canadian James Ehnes.”
(The Telegraph)

“James Ehnes was the soloist, effusively lyrical in the first two movements, hair-raisingly virtuosic in the finale, which was deemed unplayable at the time of composition…”
(The Guardian)




 


With the Seattle Chamber Music Society

July. 4, 2007 | Review


James has assumed an important new position at the Seattle Chamber Music Society, as associate artistic director. He returned recently to perform for the first time since being appointed.

"Ehnes, newly appointed associate artistic director of the festival, played this lush, beautiful music with sympathy, sweetness of tone and limpid phrasing."
(Seattle Post Intelligencer, 4 July 2007)

"First came a memorable reading of the familiar "Meditation" from Massenet's "Thais," performed with Ehnes' trademark gorgeous sound..."
(The Seattle Times, 4 July 2007)




 


James "An impressive soloist" Elgar tour

May 18, 2007 | Review


"James Ehnes was an impressive soloist; his playing never seems hurried, and there were moments when a degree of detachment or coolness perfectly complemented the full-blooded orchestral playing. Ehnes' instrument - the so-called 'Ex Marsick' Stradivarius of 1715 - made a gorgeous sound, full of subtle tonal colours."
(Seen and Heard, 18 May 2007)

"James Ehnes bought out all these elements in a way that inspired a newly refreshed love for a familiar work. His intonation was impeccable, his control of the differing emotional elements was impressive and the end was truly magnificent, a fitting climax to a memorable interpretation."
(Classical Source, 17 May 2007)




 


A "shimmering" performance with the National Ballet of Canada

Apr. 16, 2007 | Review


"Jerome Robbins created Opus 19/The Dreamer in 1979 for the New York City Ballet. It features Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No 1 in D Major, splendidly performed in this instance by James Ehnes, whose liquid, passionate yet controlled tone spun out a shimmering magic carpet for the dancers."
(Ottawa Citizen, 14 April 2007)




 


Mendelssohn Montreal

Mar. 16, 2007


"Ehnes played with secure technique and musicianship, but more importantly with a rich silky sound, a very personal passion and emotional depth. Ehnes' performance... was secure and beautiful music-making of the highest level."
(Times Argus, March 16, 2007)

"This Canadian is one of the steadiest on the circuit. His mix of quick tempo and steady vibrato in the Andante created a faithful metaphor for the composer's combined classical and romantic impulses."
(The Gazette, March 15, 2007)

“Between these two symphonic moments, James Ehnes performed Mendelssohn famous 2nd concerto for violin with a sensibility very close to the best in this repertoire.He approached the concerto with a lightness of bowing and balance in the virtuosic passages with a fine and bounding vivacity in the finale."
(Le Devoir, March 14, 2007)

“James Ehnes took on the celebrated Concerto Op. 64 by Mendelssohn and brought it to port with no problems. Beautiful sonority, precision, musicality."
(La Presse, 14 March, 2007)




 


BSO is heavenly and down to earth

Mar. 10, 2007 | Review


"All of 30, Ehnes has something of the patrician in him as a player, an extra degree of elegance flowing behind his sweet, superbly controlled tone. He had Mozart's lines singing poetically, each curve made meaningful, but without the slightest affectation. Cadenzas were full of character, not just technical finesse. With Herbig assuring a gently shaded response from the ensemble to match the soloist's refinement, the performance emitted a soft, ethereal glow."
(Baltimore Sun, 9 March 2007)

"Solo violinist James Ehnes nudged from Mozart's score a pleasantly sleek lyricism and nimbly articulated phrasing, ornamenting each movement with elegant cadenzas."
(Washington Post, 10 March 2007)




 


"Ehnes Brings Down the House" in Kitchener-Waterloo

Mar. 3, 2007 | Review


"Post intermission saw the young Canadian violinist James Ehnes bring the house down with his darkly passionate performance of Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No.1, which invoked an instant standing ovation and multiple curtain calls, culminating in a much appreciated encore performance of a solo Bach. Most striking about Ehnes' playing is his gorgeous, rich, dark tone, which was particularly well suited to both the Shostakovich and Bach."
(The Record, 3 March 2007)




 


A "dazzling" debut at Wigmore Hall

Feb. 23, 2007 | Review


"Mercifully free of affectation or vanity, yet blessed with as stunning a technique and as intriguing a musical personality as any violinist on the circuit, James Ehnes seems set to become one of classical music's biggest names. ...he produces a simply gorgeous palette of timbres - sometimes warm and velvety, sometimes with the pellucid clarity of lark song at dawn, elsewhere thrillingly powerful and incisive."
(London Times, 23 February 2007)
Read much more in the full review

"There is a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere about an Ehnes concert, and, in recitals, the close artistic rapport he has established with his customary pianist Eduard Laurel is patent. But behind the composure there lies a technical arsenal second to none, and a musical sensibility of extraordinary perception and communicative power."
(Daily Telegraph, 22 February 2007)
More in the full review




 


Classic FM's Featured Disc of the Month - February 2007

Feb. 05, 2007 | Review


"As the soloist, the brilliant 30-year-old Canadian violinist is ideal, his obvious love and deep understanding of these works shining through every bar of the music. Ehnes's playing [of the Korngold] is rapturously lyrical in the shimmering, wistful slow movement while also bringing shape and structure to the virtuoso passages. In all three concertos, James Ehnes proves that he is one of today's most talented violinists. His tone soars and sings like a human voice -- this is violin playing of the highest class. He brings out the nostalgic, hyper-emotional melodies of the Korngold without straying into over-sentimentality, as well as the often cheeky virtuoso brilliance of Walton's concerto with equal aplomb. His innate sense of rhythm and timing, and spot-on intonation almost make you forget he's playing an instrument, so clear and direct is his expression of the music."
Read Full Review




 


Gramophone Praises James Ehnes - February 2007

Feb. 01, 2007 | Review


"James Ehnes gives superb performances, bringing out their full emotional thrust without vulgarity or exaggeration. His playing has always been impressive on disc, but here he excels himself in expressive range as well as the tonal beauty, with expressive rubato perfectly controlled. An outstanding disc in every way."
Read Full Review




 


A superb Elgar with the Duisburg Philharmoniker

Jan. 25, 2007 | Review


"Before intermission, the second longest concerto in the violin literature - Edward Elgar's concerto - was given a grandiose performance... the horrendous technical requirements were wonderfully executed by James Ehnes...after the never ending applause Ehnes thanked the audience with the Praeludium from Bach's E major Partita."
(NRZ, 22 January 2007)




 


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Jan. 15, 2007 | Review


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Top 5 recordings of 2006

Jan. 01, 2007 | Review


"James Ehnes is the finest violinist of his generation and these superb concerto recordings are all the proof I need to make that statement. Lush tone, flawless technique and personality to burn make this one of the finest recordings of the year."
(WRR, December 2006)

"The pure beauty of his violin is splendid... James Ehnes's interpretation is not exaggerated, flowing with the music, breathing with great sensitivity the lines of these concertos, his high notes very pure, woven together like a spider's web."
(ClassicsToday France, January 2007)

"The Canadian violinist plays with grace, but also with brio, in particular in the virtuoso movements offered by these concertos." (ConcertoNet, January 2007) "The young Canadian James Ehnes proves an admirable champion of all three works, unfazed by the technical demands of Korngold and Walton, and wallowing in their rhapsodic melodies. This is gorgeous music, sumptuously performed."
(Sunday Times, 26 November 2006)

"Ehnes's playing is as smooth a silk."
(Toronto Star, 23 November 2006)

"All three composers tested a soloist's virtuosity, particularly Samuel Barber in the "presto in moto perpetuo" that forms the short but fiendish finale to his concerto; nor was Walton any slouch in the demands he made in the "presto capriccioso alla napolitana" at the centre of the concerto that he wrote on the Amalfi coast. Mediterranean warmth as well as caprice radiates from Ehnes's performance, and in the other two concertos he gets right to the heart of the music's temperament, nostalgic but with spirited uplift as well. The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra does him proud in establishing vibrant, complementary support. This is a must-have disc."
(Daily Telegraph, 11 November 2006) *CD of the Week*

"Mr. Ehnes lacks nothing for clean-cut virtuosity, and you'll not hear Barber's perpetual-motion finale tossed off with cooler brilliance. A really attractive combination of concertos, well played and naturally recorded."
(Dallas Morning News, 28 October 2006)

"What a great collection of concertos. The performances show violinist Ehnes in peak form, full of star quality with his silky tone and almost offhanded ease with the technical fireworks (many of which were written for Jascha Heifetz)."
(Philadelphia Inquirer, 22 October 2006)

"Ehnes is very convincing with this approach. He's virtuosic but not flashy. His sweet, warm tone wins you over and enhances the more purely musical aspects of this music, and especially in the gorgeous slow movement of the Korngold. Intonation and tuning are once again, near perfect, as are his phrasing and overall musicianship."
(Sound Advice, 14 October 2006)




 


"Lustre and muscle" in Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop

Nov. 20, 2006 | Review


"What an honest musician this Canadian is. Nothing is superficial. He faced this warhorse squarely, made it live, and made it his own. He was febrile; his vibrato trilled; notes came glued with a little portamento. Yet nothing here was pushed to excess; nor was he ever out of step with the orchestra's own passion. Ehnes fully deserved his encore. The Bach solo proved a fine showcase for his fingers and his 1715 Stradivarius - an instrument notable as much for its dark beauty low down as its silver gleam on top. "
(London Times, 20 November 2006)

"The soloist in Mendelssohn's E minor Violin Concerto was the outstanding young Canadian, James Ehnes. Ehnes's instinctive expressiveness was allied to the sensitivity and character that Alsop etched into the orchestral background. Bold of line and free of sentiment, Ehnes's playing had lustre and muscle, with beautiful turns of phrase in the slow movement and a light, airy quality to the finale. This was a performance that stripped away clichés that might have accrued in interpretations of this most familiar of concertos over the years, and showed it in all its originality and freshness."
(Daily Telegraph, 17 November 2006)




 


"Ehnes and friends light a fire with chamber program" for Festival Miami and Friends of Chamber Music

Oct. 5, 2006 | Review


"It's a testament to the players' technical finesse and musicality that Tuesday's remarkable performance conveyed all of the quartet's richness and power while keeping textures clear and the music in proper scale. Rarely will one hear a one-off gathering of musicians deliver as idiomatic and majestic a performance as this. The drama and youthful fire of the opening was as incisive as the Andante, with its song-like main theme given yearning advocacy. While supple and alert, at times Lisitsa's keyboard work seemed a touch literal next to her colleagues. But this was a wonderfully communicative performance, culminating in a blazing account of the Hungarian Rondo, taken at a lightning tempo and rounded off in a thrilling coda that brought the audience to its feet."
(Florida Sun-Sentinal, 5 October 2006)