One mourns the recent passing of Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek (24 February 1946 – 31 May 2017) not only because he was a wonderfully discerning musician, but also because he perpetuated a conducting legacy that linked back to the great Czech composers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Canada 2017 Vancouver Summer Bach Festival  – J.S. Bach, St John Passion: Gli Angeli Genève [Jenny Högström, Aleksandra Lewondoska (sopranos), Thomas Hobbs, Robert Getchell (tenors), Stephan MacLeod (bass/director)], Alex Potter (countertenor), Sumner Thompson (baritone), Vancouver Cantata Singers (dir. by Paula Kremer), Pacific Baroque Orchestra/Alexander Weimann (conductor), Chan Centre, Vancouver, 11.8.2017. (GN)
There are few more celebrated musicians in the world right now than Manitoba-born violinist James Ehnes; and few listeners have failed to succumb to his tonal luster, silken lyrical lines and insightful virtuosity. After initial training with Francis Chaplin, the violinist made his solo debut at age 13 with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, followed by studies with Sally Thomas at Meadowmount and Juilliard (1993-97). Ehnes won the Peter Mennin Prize upon his Juilliard graduation, and subsequently received the first-ever Ivan Galamian Memorial Award and an Avery Fisher Career Grant, in addition to the highest Canadian honours. A turning point in Ehnes’ recording career came in 2006-2007 when his ‘homegrown’ recording of the Barber, Korngold and Walton concertos with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (under Bramwell Tovey) won both Juno and Grammy awards. This was followed by the widely-praised Onyx recording of the Elgar Violin Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis.
CanadaSchubert, Debussy, Albéniz, de Falla: Javier Perianes (piano), Vancouver Playhouse, Vancouver, 4.5.2017. (GN)
Schubert – Piano Sonata in A major D.664; Drei Klavierstücke D.946
de Falla – Six pieces from El Amor Brujo; Homenaje pour ‘Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy’ Debussy – ‘La Soirée de Grenade’ from Estampes; Two Preludes Albéniz – ‘El Albayzin’ from Iberia
Schumann, Mozart, Beethoven, Scriabin, Granados, Liszt: Benjamin Grosvenor (piano), Chan Centre, Vancouver, 7.5.2017. (GN)
Schumann – Arabesque Mozart – Sonata in B-flat major K.333 Beethoven – Sonata in C-sharp minor, Op.27 No.2 ‘Moonlight’ Scriabin – Sonata No.2 in G-sharp minor Op.19 Granados – Two pieces from Goyescas Liszt – Rhapsodie espagnole S.254