Bernstein: Serenade - Williams: Violin Concerto No. 1 James Ehnes, St. Louis Symphony & Stéphane Denève

Cover Bernstein: Serenade - Williams: Violin Concerto No. 1

Album info



Label: PentaTone

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Concertos

Artist: James Ehnes, St. Louis Symphony & Stéphane Denève

Composer: Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), John Williams (1932)

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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  • Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990): Serenade:
  • 1Bernstein: Serenade: I. Phaedrus. Pausanias. Lento and Allegro06:27
  • 2Bernstein: Serenade: II. Aristophanes. Allegretto04:23
  • 3Bernstein: Serenade: III. Eryximachus. Presto01:31
  • 4Bernstein: Serenade: IV. Agathon. Adagio07:36
  • 5Bernstein: Serenade: V. Socrates. Alcibiades. Molto tenuto - Allegro molto vivace11:00
  • John Williams (b. 1932): Violin Concerto No. 1:
  • 6Williams: Violin Concerto No. 1: I. Moderato10:58
  • 7Williams: Violin Concerto No. 1: II. Slowly. In peaceful contemplation09:34
  • 8Williams: Violin Concerto No. 1: III. Broadly. Maestoso - Quickly09:56
  • Total Runtime01:01:25

Info for Bernstein: Serenade - Williams: Violin Concerto No. 1

The St. Louis Symphony and their music director Stéphane Denève present a wonderful program featuring two of the most accomplished American composers in history: Leonard Bernstein with his Serenade and John Williams with his Concerto for violin and orchestra, both performed by star James Ehnes, one of the most exceptional North American violinists. John Williams himself was present at the recording of his violin concerto, working together with the St. Louis Symphony, Denève, and Ehnes. Both works evolve around love: Bernstein’s Serenade was inspired by musings on love from Plato’s Symposium while Williams’s work was arguably inspired and eventually dedicated to his suddenly deceased wife. By combining these two concert pieces, this album puts the symphonic work of Bernstein and Williams at the center, two composers who weren’t afraid of crossing the boundaries between film music and “serious” classical genres at a time when these worlds were generally kept far apart. Especially in Williams’ concerto, there are still hints of his work as a film composer; the slow movement brings to mind a scene of emotional gravity.

Widely considered one of the world’s finest orchestras, the SLSO maintains its commitment to artistic excellence, educational impact, and community connections. The St. Louis Symphony, Stéphane Denève, and James Ehnes all make their Pentatone debut.

“I could not dream of better partners for this recording of two classic American violin concertos than my dear friend James Ehnes and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. I would like to thank them du fond du coeur. The music in this album holds great personal meaning for me. I was 10 years old when I first saw E.T. and discovered the music of John Williams. I can never thank John adequately for his wondrous music. A perfect musical companion, Bernstein’s Serenade is also a masterwork offering a vast array of emotions. I am so proud of this album and of the virtuosic performances by our musicians and James.” (Stéphane Denève)

“Working with such wonderful friends as Stéphane and the artists of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, on music that means so much to me, has been a dream come true. I hope listeners will enjoy the experience of listening as much as we enjoyed the experience of recording these two timeless masterpieces.” (James Ehnes)

James Ehnes, violin
St. Louis Symphony
Stéphane Denève, conductor

James Ehnes
Known for his virtuosity and probing musicianship, violinist James Ehnes has performed in over 30 countries on five continents, appearing regularly in the world’s great concert halls and with many of the most celebrated orchestras and conductors.

In the 2013-2014 season James performs in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Russia, Israel, Belgium, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Australia. Season highlights include concerts with the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Toronto Symphony, and a three-week residency in Melbourne, as well as performances in London, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Brussels, Prague, Tel Aviv, and Moscow. An avid chamber musician, Ehnes will tour with his string quartet, the Ehnes Quartet, and lead the winter and summer festivals of the Seattle Chamber Music Society, where he is the Artistic Director.

James Ehnes has an extensive discography of over 30 recordings featuring music ranging from J.S. Bach to John Adams. Recent projects include a disc featuring concertos by Britten and Shostakovich, three CDs of the music of Béla Bartók as well as a recording of Tchaikovsky’s complete oeuvre for violin. Upcoming releases include a double CD of the complete violin works by Prokofiev and a recording of Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto paired with Shostakovich’s String Quartets Nos. 7&8. His recordings have been honored with many international awards and prizes, including a Grammy, a Gramophone, and 7 Juno Awards.

was born in 1976 in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. He began violin studies at the age of four, and at age nine became a protégé of the noted Canadian violinist Francis Chaplin. He studied with Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School of Music and from 1993 to 1997 at The Juilliard School, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music upon his graduation. Mr. Ehnes first gained national recognition in 1987 as winner of the Grand Prize in Strings at the Canadian Music Competition. The following year he won the First Prize in Strings at the Canadian Music Festival, the youngest musician ever to do so. At age 13, he made his major orchestral solo debut with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.

He has won numerous awards and prizes, including the first-ever Ivan Galamian Memorial Award, the Canada Council for the Arts’ Virginia Parker Prize, and a 2005 Avery Fisher Career Grant. James has been honoured by Brandon University with a Doctor of Music degree (honoris causa) and in 2007 he became the youngest person ever elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society of Canada. In 2010 the Governor General of Canada appointed James a Member of the Order of Canada, and in 2013 he was named an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, limited to a select group of 300 living distinguished musicians.

James Ehnes plays the "Marsick" Stradivarius of 1715. He currently lives in Bradenton, Florida with his family.

Booklet for Bernstein: Serenade - Williams: Violin Concerto No. 1

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