Known for his virtuosity and probing musicianship, violinist James Ehnes has performed in over 35 countries on five continents, appearing regularly in the world’s great concert halls and with many of [...]
Selections: The best of James Ehnes
They spoke about it
Since his precocious beginnings at age four under the watchful eyes of his father, a trumpet professor and his mother, a dancer, James Ehnes has astonished the music world with his extraordinary technique and musicality. Nicknamed the “Jasha Heifetz of our day” by The Globe and Mail, he has performed in over 30 countries, collaborating with many of the world’s most celebrated orchestras and conductors. His vast repertoire includes Bach’s cornerstones for the instrument as well as dazzling works for violin and orchestra and poetic pieces by Kreisler and Dvo?ák.
When he was only 13, the young musician was invited to perform by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. Today, in his thirties, he is considered one of the best violinists of his generation. Numerous international awards, including a Grammy and six Junos, have marked his career. In January 2002, he received the title of “young artist of the year” at the Cannes Classical Awards for his recording of Partitas and Sonatas for Solo Violin by Johann Sebastian Bach – from which the Prelude of the Third Partita and the Chaconne of the Second Partita found here are taken. In 2005, as he released a disc of sonatas for violin and harpsichord by the same composer, he received the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in November 2010 and is the youngest Fellow ever to be elected to the Royal Society of Canada .
James Ehnes shows an obvious affinity with the repertoire of Fritz Kreisler, considering them jewels of the violin repertoire. Here we hear him in the celebrated Liebesfreud and Liebesleid (Love’s Joy and Love’s Sorrow) and the catchy Chinese tambourine.
In addition, the violinist interprets two tender works by Antonín Dvo?ák: one of his Romantic Pieces and the slow movement of his Sonatina.
Ehnes displays passion and sensitivity in two radiant works by Camille Saint-Saëns, his Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso and his Havanaise, as well as the lyrical Meditation from Thaïs by Jules Massenet.
A subtle and unusually versatile interpreter, Ehnes feels it is essential to respect the composer’s intentions and give the music all it deserves. He confesses that he feels a daunting responsibility when recording: “I always want to do my very best to produce the music exactly the way I conceive it. I believe my recordings are a good reflection of what I do and who I am as an artist.”
© Lucie Renaud
Translation: Annie P. Prothin