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The Week in Reviews, Op. 44: James Ehnes, Baiba Skride, Gil Shaham in concert

Robert Niles

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Published: August 19, 2014 at 11:13 PM [UTC]

In an effort to promote the coverage of live music, each week brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world.

James Ehnes
Photo © Benjamin Ealovega. Courtesy the artist.

James Ehnes performed the Walton at the BBC Proms

  • The Daily Express: "No matter how furious or tender the music, this Canadian phenomenon has a welcome lack of many a soloist’s “look at me” attitude. Ehnes draws you into his playing, inviting you to discover with the same wonder both the unknown and the familiar."
  • New Statesman: "To a rapt crowd, he played the third movement of Bach’s second sonata for solo violin, carefully drawing out the spread chords to support the sonorous melody. The quieter he played, the harder the audience listened, and the more intense the silence surrounding his music became."
  • "This was a glorious performance that revelled in the Concerto's lyricism without becoming cloying. But the encore was simply spell-binding: Ehnes played the third movement from Bach's Second Sonata for solo violin as the whole Royal Albert Hall leaned in to listen."
  • Music OMH: "The generosity of Ehnes’s playing was reflected in a fine encore (the third-movement Andante from Bach’s Sonata in A minor) and in his return to the Hall after the interval (during which he happily received plaudits from fans) to hear and watch the BBC NOW and Søndergård tackle two key Sibelius works."
  • Listen to the concert, via the BBC. (Or at least listen to that Bach! Walton begins at 0:28:07; Bach at 1:04:43)

Baiba Skride performed the Stravinsky at the BBC Proms

  • The Arts Desk: "The way in which she finds such musical solutions to the first movement’s devilish voltes-faces flipping from gorgeous legato to clownish parody in a heartbeat is remarkable; so, too, the exquisite Bach-like refractions of the two Arias where embellishment feels so in the moment as to properly invoke the improvisatory nature of the work’s true inspiration."
  • Listen to the concert, via the BBC.

Gil Shaham performed Prokofiev's Second Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic

  • Los Angeles Times: "Shaham is a mercurial violinist with a silvery, slippery tone beautifully employed in the opening solo."

We also always welcome and encourage review blogs from our members! Here is a review from high school senior Joshua Iyer of Aurora, Ill.:

The Grant Park Orchestra and Choir performed Ravel's "Daphnes et Chloe" in Chicago:

  • "One of my dreams is to follow a score and hear the notes on the page come to life literally around me, and this brought chills to my spine."

Please support live music in your community by attending a concert or recital whenever you can!

From Emily Hogstad
Posted on August 20, 2014 at 12:49 AM
I'll remember the Bach encore for the rest of my life, even though I only heard it over the radio. It came at a moment in my life when I really needed it. And I love that so many writers knew it was so special.

Thanks for showcasing these reviews!

From Laurie Niles
Posted on August 20, 2014 at 4:35 AM
I love that movement; what beautiful playing by James Ehnes.
Posted on August 20, 2014 at 3:33 PM
Extraordinary performance of both the Walton and the Bach by James Ehnes! Definitely worth a listen!

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