CD Review: James Ehnes & Andrew Armstrong

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Ehnes-et-Armstrong-Sonates-pour-violon-James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong
Violin Sonatas: Debussy, Elgar, Respighi, Sibelius

Onyx 2016. ONYX4159. 68 min 56 s.

James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong deliver a rich, luminous CD with an original choice of works. In symbiosis from start to finish, they transport us to the different atmospheres of the pieces with refinement and poise. It was a judicious choice to combine these four composers and in particular these three sonatas, which are relatively unknown but no less interesting for that. The sonata by Debussy, one of his last works, displays his multiple colours and shadings as well as his delicate sensibility. But the shadow of death is hovering, and the composers knew it. The little-known sonata op. 82 by Elgar is a little jewel. It opens up to us a passionate romantic world that is both intense and harmonious. Respighi’s magnificent sonata op. 110 undergoes a lyrical and sensitive interpretation. At times tormented and sinuous, here it takes on a much brighter appearance. Concluding the album, the cradle song by Sibelius, in a very improvised style, has a melancholy that matches the overall feel of these works. The whole recording is redolent of the musical and intellectual synchronicity of these two players.

Translation: Cecilia Grayson

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About Author

Jeune pianiste de la scène française, Jeanne est diplômée du Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris dans les classes de George Pludermacher, Haruko Ueda et Frank Braley, et de l'Université de Montréal dans la classe de Dang Thai Son. Elle a reçu les conseils de grands maîtres tels Michel Merlet, Jean-Claude Pennetier, Jacques Rouvier et Stephen Kovacevich entre autres. Elle a été récompensée dans plusieurs concours : Premier Grand Prix au concours Flame (2007), au concours d'Aix-en-Provence, au concours Alain Marinaro (2015), lauréate du concours de l'OPMEM à Montréal. Elle apprécie l'enseignement et la musique de chambre qu'elle partage avec d'autres musiciens en différentes formations et suit actuellement une licence de littérature française à Montréal afin d’orienter une partie de sa carrière vers la critique musicale.

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