May 21, 2024

Double Five Stars for ‘Williams & Bernstein’ in BBC Music Magazine

“Ehnes and the orchestra give their all to the music, but it’s a tough listen and might surprise those who know Williams from his film scores.”

Williams: Violin Concerto No. 1 & Bernstein: Serenade, performed by James Ehnes with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Stéphane Denève, received a fantastic double five star review in the June issue of BBC Music Magazine.

“Bernstein’s Serenade was inspired by Plato’s Symposium, and each of its five movements bears the name of one of the protagonists who speak at the banquet in praise of love, although you can easily listen to it without referring to the programmatic element. The soaring theme acts as a first-movement introduction before giving way to a jaggedly rhythmic Allegro, enhanced by the scoring for strings and percussion, as well as by Ehnes’ technical command of the double stops and acrobatics. He finds elegant poise in the second movement, manic energy in the short central scherzo, and the long lyrical line in the Adagio – the nearest Bernstein comes to writing a conventional melody – before the weight at the beginning of the finale gives way to a raucous, jazzy celebration.”

Martin Cotton

Read the full interview in the June issue of BBC Music Magazine.