French Showpieces / James Ehnes, Yoav Talmi, Quebec So

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"Collection" CDs tend to get buried in the bins, but here's a lovely selection of French music for violin and orchestra that spotlights the artistry of James Ehnes, the award-winning virtuoso whose Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Analekta caused a sort of mini-sensation among lovers of great violin playing a couple of years ago. Here he offers interpretations of remarkable poise and purity in the two Saint-Saëns gems (Havanaise and Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso), along with a really gorgeous, dusky, but flowing account of Chausson's popular Poème--and he lets his hair down a bit in Milhaud's jazzy Cinéma Fantaisie.

Berlioz's rarely-encountered (live, at least) Rêverie et Caprice makes a welcome appearance (how marvelously Ehnes floats those rhythms in the Caprice!), and a remarkably un-tacky Méditation from Thaïs closes the program. Yoav Talmi leads the Quebec Symphony in fine accompaniments and also gets to strut his stuff in a lively Le Corsaire Overture (okay, it's not Beecham or Munch, but then who is?) and in Ravel's orchestration of Debussy's Tarantelle Styrienne. Superb sonics top off a disc that makes for really satisfying listening straight through, which is certainly more than you can say for most collections of this sort. First class. [12/21/2002]
--David Hurwitz,

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: FL23151

  • UPC: 774204315122

  • Label: Analekta

  • Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns, Claude Debussy, Darius Milhaud, Ernest Chausson, Hector Berlioz, Jules Massenet

  • Conductor: Yoav Talmi

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Quebec Symphony Orchestra

  • Performer: James Ehnes