Classical review: James Ehnes, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Kirill Karabits; Britten & Shostakovich (Onyx)


The haunting Spanish lilt of its first movement betrays the composer's anti-war sympathies in Britten's Violin Concerto Op 15, written in the late 1930s; the looming shadow of a larger war is then discernible in the tuba lurking behind the gay violin and piccolo of the second movement. But it's the way that James Ehnes closes the opening movement that most impresses, essaying a gossamer thread of such subtlety it becomes almost transparent.

A similar calmness is discernible in the closing moments of the first movement of Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No 1, before the capering dance motifs of the second and final sections impose a more demonic cast on the piece.

Download: Violin Concerto Op 15; Violin Concerto No 1 in A minor Op 77