James Ehnes plays Prokofiev. Complete Works for Violin (24/96 FLAC)
James Ehnes plays Prokofiev. Complete Works for Violin (24/96 FLAC)

Composer: Sergey Prokofiev
Performer: James Ehnes, Andrew Armstrong, Amy Schwartz Moretti
Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic
Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 2
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Chandos
Release: 2013
Size: 4.54 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 19
01. I. Andantino – Poco piu mosso – Meno mosso – Andante assai (Assai piu lento che la prima volta)
02. II. Scherzo: Vivacissimo
03. III. Moderato – Allegro moderato – Moderato – Piu tranquillo

Sonata for Two Violins in C Major, Op. 56
04. I. Andante cantabile
05. II. Allegro – Tempo I – Poco piu mosso – Piu mosso – Meno mosso (come prima) – Piu mosso
06. III. Commodo (quasi allegretto) – Pochissimo meno – Poco meno mosso
07. IV. Allegro con brio – Poco piu presto – Tempo I – Piu presto

Sonata in D major for solo violin, Op. 115
08. I. Moderato
09. II. Theme and Variations
10. III. Con brio – Allegro precipitato – Tempo I – Allegro precipitato

Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 63
11. I. Allegro moderato
12. II. Andante assai
13. III. Allegro, ben marcato

Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 80
14. I. Andante assai – Poco piu animato – Tempo I
15. II. Allegro brusco – Poco piu tranquillo – Piu mosso – Poco piu tranquillo – Tempo I
16. III. Andante – Poco meno mosso
17. IV. Allegrissimo – Poco piu tranquillo – Allegrissimo I – Poco meno – Andante assai, come primo

Also available:  Rostropovich Plays Cello Works (9 CD box set, APE)

Five Melodies for Violin and Piano, Op. 35a
18. No. 1. Andante
19. No. 2. Lento, ma non troppo – Poco piu mosso – Tempo I
20. No. 3. Animato, ma non allegro – Poco piu tranquillo – Meno mosso – Tempo I – Poco meno mosso
21. No. 4. Allegretto leggero e scherzando
22. No. 5. Andante non troppo – Pochissimo piu animato – Meno mosso

Violin Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 94a
23. I. Moderato
24. II. Scherzo: Presto – Poco piu mosso – Tempo I
25. III. Andante
26. IV. Allegro con brio – Poco meno mosso – Tempo I – Poco meno mosso – Tempo I – Poco meno mosso – Allegro con brio

This two-CD set offers all the works that Prokofiev wrote for the violin as solo instrument. One of the most sought after and acclaimed virtuoso violinists today, James Ehnes is accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and by the pianist Andrew Armstrong, with whom he has previously made a number of highly acclaimed Chandos recordings. The distinguished Amy Schwartz Moretti joins him in the Sonata for Two Violins.

The First Violin Concerto, begun in 1913 and completed in the summer of 1917, did not receive its first performance until 1923. There is much charm and gentle tunefulness in this work, written during a comparatively lyrical period in Prokofiev’s compositional life, though it is not without passages of bravura, especially in the brilliant central scherzo. The Second Concerto was premiered in 1935 and in feeling and atmosphere inhabits the world of the ballet Romeo and Juliet. The beautiful opening Russian theme is highly seductive, though in the first movement there is an undeniable hint of anxiety. The central movement contains many varied and contrasting ideas whilst the finale is notable for the flamboyant use of the bass drum, which adds both piquancy and drama.

The contrasting Violin Sonatas are closely associated with the violinist David Oistrakh, with whom the composer formed a close association. The Second Sonata (composed first) is a transcription of the Flute Sonata of 1943. Simple, expressive beauty is the hallmark of this work, Prokofiev’s mixture of high-spirits and sharp edges, notably in the finale, having made it a popular repertoire piece. Of the more serious First Sonata (1946), David Oistrakh wrote: ‘this was truly great music, and indeed for sheer beauty and depth nothing to equal it had been written for the violin for many a decade.’ The Sonata for Solo Violin (1947) was written with students in mind, the deceptively simple theme imbued with the composer’s characteristic twists and quirkiness. Prokofiev composed the Sonata for Two Violins (1932) for the Parisian chamber music society Triton, and the composer felt that, ‘in spite of the seemingly narrow framework, it seemed possible to make it interesting enough for the public to listen for ten or fifteen minutes without a sense of fatigue’. The Five Melodies are charming transcriptions by Prokofiev of his Five Songs, Op. 35.

Leave a Reply