April 5, 2016 | News
"[A] superb recital by James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong… Armstrong and Ehnes are perfectly matched here, instinctively touching not only the soul but also the heart of Elgar's creative world with a subtlety and sensitivity that, as with Ehnes's Concerto recording, cause shivers to run up and down the spine." FIVE STARS (Daily Telegraph, 2 April 2016)
"This thoughtful album, an anatomy of Europe torn apart, is deftly played by James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong, calibrating instrumental equality in Debussy and violin dominance in Sibelius. I haven’t heard the Elgar played so eloquently in decades, or the Respighi so lyrically. It’s a flawless record, a five-star. You won’t see many of those." FIVE STARS (Musical Toronto, 22 March 2016)
"...a satisfying recital disc that showcases Ehnes’s warm tone and purposeful phrasing. These are serious pieces, and...Ehnes and Armstrong make their heavyweight interpretations work." (Guardian, 17 March 2016)
"These three three-movement, highly substantial sonatas were written around the same timeit is an imaginative stroke to bring them together...sumptuously played." (Sunday Times, 27 March 2016)
April 3, 2016 | News
On Saturday night James won his 11th JUNO Award for his recording of Franck & Strauss Violin Sonatas (Onyx Classics) with pianist Andrew Armstrong in the category of Classical Album of the Year: Solo or Chamber Ensemble. Congratulations!
March 12, 2016 | News
“Canadian violinist James Ehnes was the brilliant soloist in Sibelius' Violin Concerto. Ehnes brought not only striking virtuosity but also genuine expressive intensity.” (TribLive, 11 March 2016)
"[Ehnes's] playing had the qualities of a potter and a painter. He molded phrases as if from clay while at the same time painting them with splashes of colors: high notes that flickered like light, vibrato as human as an operatic voice, lullaby-like lines in the middle movement. And he matched that subtlety with a self-assured playing, leaving the listener feeling like the challenging music was in safe hands." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12 March 2016)
February 18, 2016 | Reviews
"Canadian violinist James Ehnes and his 1715 Marsick Stradivarius has become a familiar sight on Sydney Opera House’s concert hall stage. One of Vladimir Ashkenazy’s favourite soloists during his tenure as chief conductor of Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the 40-year-old virtuoso caused a sensation when he came here to play the Elgar concerto in 2008.By the time he returned in 2010 for the Tchaikovsky he had a solid Sydney fanbase, and most recently his reading of the Prokofiev and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons attracted more rave reviews. His latest visit, playing the Beethoven’s concerto for Ashkenazy’s full symphonic cycle, eloquently illustrates what all the fuss is about. It’s partly in his attention to every detail. Even the extended trills of the first movement are given the same concentration as the beautifully executed runs. The lines are elegant and smooth. He never pushes it but lets the music build through its own momentum so by the time he gets to Kreisler’s celebrated cadenzas with their double stopping wizardry we are left breathless. But with Beethoven the music as always is paramount and here the young Canadian is in tune, literally and figuratively, with his orchestral companions. A keen chamber musician...his approach to the work is of an intelligent conversation with the orchestra rather than the old-fashioned idea of the showy soloist. When he does unbutton, Ehnes shows impeccable technique with fingering and bow, with rounded phrasing and precise articulation." (Daily Telegraph, 17 February 2016)
"In Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D, Opus 61, Canadian violinist James Ehnes, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra created unhurried expansiveness in the first movement, lingering sweetness in the second and buoyant joy in the finale. That, of course, is more or less what everyone tries to do, but sometimes the tempos can prove elusive. Too much indulgence and the magisterial drumbeat (which becomes at times a heartbeat) of the first movement evaporates in romantic fantasy – too little and the work fails to breath with humanity. When it all comes together, the piece becomes a profound expression of humility and radiance that few fail to respond to. In this case, it also had the extraordinary beauty and immaculately smooth sound that Ehnes draws from the Marsick Stradivarius violin that he plays. It has an elusive balance of colour, glow, firmness and sweetness that falls on the ear like the finest white wine you could imagine would fall on the palette. One could easily become addicted. Just as well he kept those tempos moving forward. This performance joins the pantheon of the SSO's most memorable of this work." (Sydney Morning Herald, 18 February 2016)
February 2, 2016 | News
James is up for two JUNO Awards for his two latest CDs on Onyx Classics: Best Classical Album: Solo or Chamber Ensemble for his recording of Franck and Strauss Sonatas with Andrew Armstrong and Best Classical Album: Large Ensemble or Soloist(s) with Large Ensemble for his recording of Vivaldi: The Fours Seasons with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Armstrong. The awards will be handed out at a ceremony in Calgary on April 2.