Lyricism is to the fore as Ehnes explores a handful of works written out of the anxieties of the time.

Debussy · Elgar · Respighi
Violin Sonatas
James Ehnes v, Andrew Armstrong p
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The Elgar Sonata really enchanted me. It’s a work I feel very strongly about. It’s an unusual magical piece. There’s not really anything that fills the same sort of emotional space for me – James Ehnes

Three wartime sonatas make for a fine match

Debussy, Elgar and Respighi. It’s a curious line-up, but this collection of sonatas for violin and piano works perfectly. All were written within years of each other: Debussy’s in 1916 (it was the composer’s last major work), Respighi’s in 1918 (the year of Debussy’s death), and Elgar’s in 1919. They’re perfect vehicles for world-class violinist James Ehnes, whose performances demonstrate a brilliant array of tone colours: from bold, impassioned flexing strokes to soft, limpid lines achieved with just the right amount of bow hair. Andrew Armstrong is the perfect partner – a...