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James Ehnes, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Edward Gardner – Walton – Viola Concerto, Partita for Orchestra & Sonata for String Orchestra (2018) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

James Ehnes, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Edward Gardner – Walton – Viola Concerto, Partita for Orchestra & Sonata for String Orchestra (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:05:37 minutes | 1,11 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download  | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Chandos

In this third volume of Edward Gardner’s Walton series with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, James Ehnes leaves his violin to tackle the taxing soloist role in the Viola Concerto. In a recent Strad interview, Ehnes confesses: ‘This is a piece I have loved since I was a teenager, so it is wonderful that the opportunity has come my way to record it… With Walton’s Viola Concerto, none of the writing is impossible but a lot of it is close. And in a way that is exactly where you want it to be: on the edge of technical limitations. There’s a tremendous amount of excitement in that.’ This album in surround sound also features two much later works: the 1957 Partita for Orchestra and the Sonata for String Orchestra, adapted in 1971 from the String Quartet in A minor of 1945 – 47. There is a striking contrast between the uncomfortable modernism of the up-and-coming young composer’s Viola Concerto and the relaxed brilliance of the mature Partita. But the Sonata shows Walton late in his life re-engaging as an arranger with his earlier manner, and so with the characteristic vein of restless unease that runs through most of his output.

Ehnes and Gardner take us back to pre-Menuhin tempos, only a fraction slower than William Primrose’s pioneering 1946 recording. There’s a grand sweep to the performance which is wholly engaging in its refusal to wallow. Ehnes’s burnished viola tone is noble and warm…Gardner conducts a lithe performance of the Sonata for string orchestra…and a suitably boisterous Partita to fill out the disc. – Gramophone Magazine, June 2018

[Ehnes] eloquently masters the bittersweet wistfulness of the outer movements and the dazzling pyrotechnics we hear here…Gardner’s BBC Symphony Orchestra forces play [the Partita] as the showpiece it is, revelling in its unfashionable Italianate lyricism and witty high jinks. – Sunday Times, 15th April 2018


Walton: Viola Concerto (1961 Version) 23:38
James Ehnes (viola)
I. Andante comodo 7:50
II. Vivo, con molto preciso 4:04
III. Allegro moderato 11:44

Walton: Sonata for String Orchestra 26:16
I. Allegro 8:34
II. Presto 4:11
III. Lento 8:59
IV. Allegro molto 4:32

Walton: Partita for Orchestra 15:43
I. Toccata 4:33
II. Pastorale siciliana 6:11
III. Giga burlesca 4:59

BBC Symphony Orchestra
Edward Gardner
Recorded: 17 and 18 June 2017
Recording Venue: Watford Colosseum, United Kingdom


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