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James Ehnes Max Bruch


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 20 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Cbc
  • ASIN: B0019H9WRA
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #51,834 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Beasley in To. on June 4 2009
The performances on this disc set are nothing short of rapturous. The recording quality is very good and the interplay between soloist and orchestra is precise and colourful. James Ehnes' warmth and technical execution are exceptional and certainly bear out his reputation as a superstar on the international classical music scene. I would also highly recommend this fairly priced outing for the well documented information regarding the selections on the disc set. James Ehnes is truly a Canadian treasure.
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By MER on Oct. 26 2013
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This is a CD that i wouldn't want not to own.......The three Bruch Concerti are life defining, especially all in Minor keys....But the Spanish Fantasy cannot be described......Max Bruch did not play the violin but consulted with a personal selection of violinists to go the way he had to go in creating this Fantasy in five parts derived liberally from Scottish Folk tunes/melodies........All are played on a loaned Stradivarius Violin............Sweeter heart-swelling music has never been played with delicacy, feeling and elegance as this composition of Max Bruch as by a man as James Ehnes........Oh! Canada. M.M.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Four Bruch Violin-and-Orchestra Works, Nicely Played July 30 2008
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Max Bruch (1838-1920) comes very close to being a one-hit wonder. Everyone plays his Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26. A few play his Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46. But almost nobody plays his Second and Third Violin Concertos. One wonders why, as the latter two are really quite nice pieces. But there's no understanding what makes one work popular and another a part of the trash heap of history. For this reason, it is particularly good to have this 2CD set from the up-and-coming Canadian violinist, James Ehnes (pronounced 'Ennis'), accompanied by the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. One can hear that all four of these pieces are worthy of places in the violin-and-orchestra repertoire.

There are many recordings of the First Concerto. My own personal favorite is one that is no longer easily available, the one with Jaime Laredo. But one cannot ignore recordings by such luminaries as Itzhak Perlman, Kyung-Wha Chung and Maxim Vengerov. Ehnes's approach to this concerto, and indeed to all three of them, is an elegant and lyrical one. This is not necessarily what others do. The First is generally played with a bit more fire and brilliance, but to be honest Bruch's style is possibly better served by Ehnes's subtlety.

The Second Concerto came ten years after the First and was premiered in 1877 by none other than Sarasate. It is unusually structured with a slow first movement, a dramatic, even operatic, second movement marked 'Recitativo', and a somewhat jaunty finale. The Scottish Fantasy was written two years later and although it is not often played in concert, it has had a pretty good history of recordings, including classic, long-treasured ones by Jascha Heifetz and Michael Rabin. It was inspired, Bruch said, by reading the novels of Sir Walter Scott. The work was occasionally listed in its early days as the Third Concerto, but at least partly because of its unusual form, really more of a musing on Scottish themes, it has come to be called simply the 'Scottish Fantasy' which is a more apt description. The Third Concerto was written for Joseph Joachim and premiered in 1891. Its form is more typical: Fast - Slow - Fast. The Allegro sounds almost as if it could have been written by Brahms with its alternation of 2- and 3-note rhythms. The adagio is notable for its lyrical theme which is not only beautiful but is one of those rare themes that sticks in memory after just one hearing. The finale makes much use of a cantering rhythm coupled with exciting double-stops from the soloist.

The First and Third Concertos are conducted by the OSM's former music director, Charles Dutoit; the Second Concerto and the Scottish Fantasy by Mario Bernardi. I frankly heard little difference between the approaches of these two conductors, and the OSM sounds its usual suave self.

This set is easily recommendable and all the more so because of its low price.

Scott Morrison
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Excellent if mildly restrained readings. Oct. 4 2011
By J. K. Davis MD - Published on Amazon.com
I purchased these two cds prior to the current combined release, which is a much better buy. There are better recordings of the first concerto in my opinion: Perlman
and Nathan Milstein among others. The Scottish fantasy and the two less known concertos however are terrific. The sound quality is excellent, and the interpretations a bit less overtly 'romantic' than others I've heard. Very worthwhile, especially at the current price.


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