March 28, 2024

Williams & Bernstein performed by St. Louis Symphony, Stéphane Denève & James Ehnes

Pentatone releases Williams: Violin Concerto No. 1 & Bernstein: Serenade, together with James EhnesSt. Louis Symphony OrchestraStéphane Denève, in April 2024.

Crossing the Boundaries of Film and Concert Music 

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’ Violin Concerto No. 1 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

Digital Release Date: 26 APRIL 2024

Physical Release: APRIL 2024

Released as 1 standard CD and in digital formats for streaming and high-resolution downloads.