Britten: Violin Concerto; Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No 1

Fri, Jun 7, 2013, 00:00


Britten & Shostakovich James Ehnes

James Ehnes, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Kirill Karabits, Benjamin Britten, Dmitri Shostakovich



Chandos’s Britten recording (left) is an all-British affair. The Onyx recording of the Violin Concerto brings together a Canadian soloist, a Ukrainian conductor and a British orchestra for a performance that is more sharply etched and more precisely coloured than the Chandos. And while that bit more objective, it’s no less impactful, and sounds more modern in the context of its time than the Chandos reading. It’s coupled with Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto, written in the winter of 1947-48, when Zhdanov was terrorising composers and other artists – Shostakovich withheld the brooding, sometimes abrasive, and distinctively monogram-med score until 1955. Ehnes and Karabits probe it with power and delicacy.