James Ehnes, classical review: 'A rich, bright and muscular sound'

Wigmore Hall, London

Michael Church
Monday 06 January 2014 17:53
Comments

The young Canadian fiddler James Ehnes is not so much in love with the violin as with specific instruments, of which he is a connoisseur, and in pursuit of which - most notably a 1715 Strad - he has spent much of his energy.

After falling in love with that Strad’s sound, he was led a dance lasting years: he had it as a loan, had to yield it up to a buyer, then it came back on the market, and was finally bought by a rich friend who gave it him on permanent loan ‘to stop me whining about it’.

With Ehnes’s duo partner suddenly taken ill, that Strad came centre-stage for Ehnes’s substitute solo programme: two of Bach’s greatest violin works, Partitas 2 and 3. And one saw immediately what he was talking about: the sound was rich, bright, and muscular as he launched into the tumbling figurations of the opening Prelude.

His playing was exemplarily clean, with beautifully-handled echo effects, but there wasn’t much poetry. Only in the final Chaconne did he reveal the full extent of his artistry, letting its architecture grow until it climaxed in a blaze of glory, before dying back down to a confiding intimacy

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in