Magazine article Gramophone

Britten * Shostakovich: Britten Violin Concerto, Op 15

Magazine article Gramophone

Britten * Shostakovich: Britten Violin Concerto, Op 15

Article excerpt

Britten * Shostakovich Britten Violin Concerto, Op 15 Shostakovich Violin Concerto No 1, Op 77 James Ehnes vn Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Kirill Karabits Onyx [M] ONYX4113 (67' * DDD)

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Britten * J Berger Britten Violin Concerto, Op 15 (a) J Berger Jiyeh (b) Livia Sohn vn aOrchestra del Teatro Marrucino di Chieti / Luigi Piovano; bBanff Centre Chamber Orchestra / Henk Guittart Eloquentia [F] EL1340 (56' * DDD)

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Britten's 1939 Violin Concerto from Ehnes in Bournemouth and Sohn in Chieti

Britten's own recording of his Violin Concerto with Mark Lubotsky towers over the field but that has not stopped others rising to the challenge. Among recent recordings Anthony Marwood and Maxim Vengerov have most noticeably widened the parameters: Marwood, with Ilan Volkov urging him on, puts in a performance as grippingly tense as any, while Vengerov, with Rostropovich slowing him down, offers beautiful playing at expansive tempi.

These two new recordings place themselves centrally. James Ehnes is a very fine violinist and there is barely a moment here when his playing is anything but silken in tone and sinuously refined (try the elegance as he rises into the stratosphere at the start of the finale). Kirill Karabits and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra make cultured colleagues but there is not much danger in their ostinato rhythms or edge to their attack. …

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