James Ehnes, Sibelius, and the ISO

Edited: March 30, 2019, 7:25 PM · Last night I attended my first live classical concert in...some time. Two concertos were presented, the first was Sibelius and the soloist was James Ehnes. I've been listening to both him and the concerto, but of course recordings are nothing like live music. His playing was wonderful.

Ehnes followed Sibelius with two encores. Sadly I could not catch the name of his first encore (composer or piece), but it was quite lively and on the wild side whatever it was. He described his second encore as the antidote to the first - the Largo from Bach Sonata 3. Quite different energy levels and styles, but they were a beautiful combination and followup to Sibelus.

After the intermission the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra played Walton's Symphony No. 1 in B-Flat Major. Outside of the Concertmaster breaking a string in the second movement (I swear he set a world record time in changing that string), it went quite well. This was the first time the ISO has ever played this particular symphony. Frankly, I are many composers I prefer to Walton and I still am not really a fan - but it certainly was better live than recorded.

I'm glad I went, and am looking forward to the offerings next season.

Replies (3)

March 30, 2019, 9:39 AM · I'd really like to see Ehnes live.

If I had to guess, the first encore could be Ysaye No 3?

March 30, 2019, 11:21 AM · I just checked it out on YouTube and that's it! Just curious, however did you guess, is this a common encore of his? He said it was a bit long for an encore but it was lovely - and Bach really was like a balm afterwards.

Very glad I went to see him, and he apparently comes to Indianapolis relatively often.

March 30, 2019, 2:34 PM · I figured from your description, wild is a good word for it.

I've seen a video of him playing it while visiting an office - absolutely dry acoustics and he still sounds every bit as good.

If he ever comes to Europe I might be able to catch a concert. This month I was able to hear Ilya Gringolts play the Beethoven, his Locatelli encore piece was joyous.

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