November 3, 2017
"Ehnes’s playing is a marvel. The various extended trills in the first movement are so lightly and evenly articulated as to suggest a heart aflutter. He can whip up excitement, as he does with finely honed precision in the two Kreisler cadenzas. But, really, it’s his – and Manze’s – thoughtfulness and patience that make this recording so satisfying." Even in the cadenzas, the exhilaration comes as much from Ehnes’s gradual building of tension as from his virtuosity. Note, too, how he integrates himself into the orchestral part. Just after the first exquisite trill, for instance, where the music turns to the minor mode (at 5'32"), his playing suddenly becomes more subdued and deliberate, as if he were providing a running commentary, sotto voce, to the orchestral argument. And again, in the finale, he pulls back at 3'38" so he’s accompanying the bassoon’s melody rather than dancing on top of it. Both Ehnes and Manze are careful to give full value to the music’s silences. This is particularly effective in the raptly lyrical Larghetto, where one is made aware that the music’s fabric is actually all in pieces. Only at 4'31" does Beethoven finally unfurl a long-breathed stretch of melody – and how tenderly Ehnes caresses it. In the finale, Manze has the RLPO really dig in, without any sacrifice of tonal plushness, creating a heady atmosphere of rustic vigour that highlights the concerto’s relationship with the Pastoral Symphony. The two Romances are presented as aria-like scenas. Ehnes’s firm legato phrasing and rhythmic poise provide dramatic backbone, and he heightens the sense of contrast in the central sections with sharply etched articulation... Ehnes and Manze have given us a Beethoven Concerto to stand among the very best."
October 15, 2017
'Any danger of a routine account of this popular concerto is instantly dispelled by the freshness and colour of the opening bars...Ehnes's fluent playing has similar virtues. In his hands, the the finale's repeated main theme is always a delight, so perfectly articulated'. The Sunday Times
September 20, 2017
"Ehnes always makes the music look so easy, even in the devilish virtuoso turns that both composers offer the soloist. I almost expected to see smoke coming from his Old Master violin at the end of the Saint-Saëns piece." (Musical Toronto)
August 3, 2017
The Ehnes Quartet's recording of Schubert's String Quartet No 14 and the Sibelius String Quartet, Op 56 on the ONYX label is nominated for a Gramophone Award. Category winners are announced on September 1 and on September 13 is the Awards dinner where the Recording of the Year will be revealed.
August 1, 2017
James Ehnes continues his summer of festival appearances with a return to the Grand Teton Music Festival on 10 August 2017, when he plays Bach Sonata No.1 at a chamber recital.
Ehnes then joins Donald Runnicles and the Grand Teton Festival Orchestra for two performances of the Beethoven Violin Concerto at the Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village, Wyoming.
Following his time in Wyoming, Ehnes travels to South Korea to make his debut with the KBS Symphony Orchestra. Ehnes joins the orchestra and their Chief Conductor, Yoel Levi, for performances of Shostakovich Violin Concerto No.1 at Seoul's Lotte Concert Hall on 24 August and Seoul Arts Center on 25 August.