TWO MASTERWORKS ARE SURE TO THRILL
I heard the most exquisite violin playing on KUSC today. It was a Max Bruch violin concerto and I was thrilled when the announcer informed that it was Canadian virtuoso James Ehnes, as I had already made plans to see the Grammy-Award winning violinist this weekend. Ehnes, who masters a rare combination of technique and soul, will be performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto – the most frequently performed violin concerto in the repertoire – at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. The concert, which will include Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, takes place January 10-12, 2013, and will begin with a 7:00 preview talk with Alan Chapman, the man from KUSC who played the Bruch.
Known for his virtuosity and probing musicianship, Ehnes has performed in over 30 countries and on five continents, appearing regularly in the world’s great concert halls and with many of the major orchestras and conductors. As I discovered researching the Bruch concerto, Ehnes has an extensive discography of over 25 recordings featuring music ranging from J.S Bach to John Adams. Ehnes will transcend the technical difficulty of Beethoven’s crowning achievement on a 1715 “Marsick” Stradivarius, revealing the exquisite lyricism of Beethoven’s work.
“The piece has perfect proportions,” says violinist Ehnes. “Not a note seems out of place. The overall ‘experience’ of the piece is what I find most attractive. It’s of pretty substantial length, and the journey from start to finish seems to transcend time. I play this piece a lot, and always feel honored to be the medium that brings this amazing music to a live audience. It’s wonderful to think how many people in every audience are hearing it for the first time, or hearing it live for the first time.”
The orchestra will be led by Scottish guest conductor Garry Walker, known as a youthful and dynamic leader who has worked with luminous companies around the world. And speaking of global journeys, get ready for Walker’s take on Scheherazade. As with many of my generation, it was Disney’s Fantasia that turned me on to classical music, especially Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice which was music that tells a set story. But I fell in love with Scheherazade because it sets the context for a tale based on One Thousand and One Nights – sometimes known as The Arabian Nights – and allows the listener’s imagination to run wild. (Fortunately, my parents had a RCA Living Stereo 1960 recording performed by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.)
The titles of the movements are deliberately vague, i.e. “The Young Prince and The Young Princess,” allowing the Oriental-themed symphonic music, with its dazzling and colorful orchestrations, to evoke a sense of a fairy-tale adventure, which means that this Pacific Symphony outing would be a perfect way to introduce your children to classical music.
For Alan Chapman’s Concert Preview of the Beethoven, visit here.
Beethoven / Violin Concerto
Rimsky-Korsakov / Scheherazade
plays January 10 – 12, 2013 | Thursday – Saturday at 8 p.m. $25-$185
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa
for tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit http://www.PacificSymphony.org