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Cat. No. CHAN 10752 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10752 - Bartok: Works for Violin and Piano, Volume 2
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Available From: 01 January 2013
Bartok: Works for Violin and Piano, Volume 2
James Ehnes has previously explored Béla Bartók’s concertos for violin and for viola, to great acclaim. This album 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. 
 
The folk-inspired Sonata for Solo Violin was the last work that Bartók wrote for the instrument, not to mention the most challenging. In a departure from his usual practice, this work was written not for a fellow Hungarian, but rather for an artist born in New York where Bartók was now living: Yehudi Menuhin. Suitably impressed by a recital performance by Menuhin of his first Violin Sonata as well as Bach’s Sonata in C, he had no hesitation in accepting the violinist’s commission for a sonata that, like Bach’s, would be unaccompanied. 
 
Almost half a century earlier, Bartók had written his Sonata for Violin and Piano in E minor. It was included in a concert given by graduating students of the Liszt Academy in June 1903, when a critic, most likely not realising just how right he would prove, hailed Bartók as ‘a phenomenal young genius, whose name today is known only to a few, but who is destined to play a great and brilliant role in the history of Hungarian music’. 
 
Additionally on this album we have three groups of Bartók’s Romanian and Hungarian folk dances, folksongs, and folk tunes, arranged for violin variously by Zoltán Székely, Tivadar Országh, and Joseph Szigeti, often with direct involvement by the composer himself who helped fine-tune the new arrangements. James Ehnes also highlights the Romanian influences in Bartók’s Sonatina for piano, transcribed for violin by André Gertler, a student of Bartók’s. 
Reviews

"... The sets of Hungarian and Romanian folk pieces are easier on the ear and played with real flair and feeling for the idiom by Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong. Again, the main item on this disc that makes it, in my opinion, a must-have acquisition is the gorgeous E-Minor Sonata, which Ehnes and Armstrong deliver with expressive romantic fervor."
Jerry Dubins - Fanfare - July/August 2013

                                   **** - Excellent

Massimo Viazzo – Musica magazine – June 2013 

“...[the Violin Sonata] is Bartok’s last work for violin. It is severe and not easy listening. It is also hard to play. You wouldn’t know that to listen to Ehnes, though. The work’s difficulties do not exist for him... Virtuosity, tone and style are important in these [folk arrangements] ; and Ehnes has all of that in spades. Good sound.”
 
Joesph Magil – American Record Guide – May/June 2013

 "...this is a strongly recommended release in excellent sound."
David Denton - The Strad - April 2013

                       Repertoire *****        Sound  ****       Interpretaition *****
Isabel Fedridrizzi  - Ensemble magazome - April/May 2013

“...It is a marvellous piece [Bartok solo violin sonata], and James Ehnes with his beautifully toned violin does it full justice. He also plays the Sonata for violin and piano, and three collections of Hungarian and Romanian folk songs and dances making a delightful conclusion to the programme. Andrew Armstrong is the fine pianist.”

 
Peter Spaull – Liverpool Daily Post – February 2013  
 

                 Chamber Choice

Performance  *****      Recording *****
 
“...James Ehnes delivers a magisterial performance...”
 
Erik Levi – BBC Music magazine – March 2013
 

 "...Big toned yet poetic. Ehnes is a persausive interpreter."

 
Fiona Maddocks - The Observer - 20 January 2013

"Ehnes gives a stunning account of the Solo Sonata. The impression is that he’s simply following all Bartók’s meticulous direction - bowing, dynamics, modifications of tempo - and adding nothing extra. If this seems boring, the effect is anything but: clarity of articulation, beauty of sound, the ease with which he surmounts the technical challenges, and deep understanding of the work’s structure and character; all these combine to make a performance that’s exciting and enthralling..."
 
Duncan Druce - Gramophone magazine - January 2013

 “This second instalment of James Ehnes’s traversal through Bartók’s published works for violin and piano amply continues the high standard of its predecessor ... as well as featuring two works that can be said to encompass almost the whole of the composer’s accessible published output...”
Richard Whitehouse – International Record Review – January 2013 

 

 

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