Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 Sebastian Bohren, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra & Andrew Litton

Album info



Label: RCA Red Seal

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Concertos

Artist: Sebastian Bohren, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra & Andrew Litton

Composer: Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847)

Album including Album cover

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  • Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809 - 1847): Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64:
  • 1Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64: I. Allegro molto appassionato13:09
  • 2Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64: II. Andante08:41
  • 3Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64: III. Allegro molto vivace06:22
  • Total Runtime28:12

Info for Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64

On this album from RCA Red Seal, we have a Swiss violinist, American conductor and English orchestra; the young Swiss violinist Sebastian Bohren is the soloist in Britten's Violin Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Litton, in a programme which includes Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor Op.64.

Here Sebastian Bohren is sweet-toned and elegant, but with a lithe sound which has a remarkably wiry strength to it as well. He and Litton bring out the essential bitter-sweet nature of the writing, and speeds here seem to be remarkably steady, yet there is also a feeling of the orchestra's relentless tread to the pacing. Bohren is excellent in the moments of bright bravura playing later on in the movement, and this is certainly a version which is full of drama. I was particularly taken with the return of the opening theme, hauntingly quiet on the strings with the rhythmic figure in the violin.

The second movement scherzo is vividly done, fast and furious there seems to be a lot of anger underlying the performance, whilst the slower section is rather intense with Bohren adding a brilliance to the sound. The orchestra really screws up the tension to the climax, which is released by Bohren very up front account of the cadenza. The passacaglia finale is a really powerful response to this, tightening the screw with a real feeling of anger again, until finally we get some sort of quiet release with the transparent textures and relative calm of the final moments.

Four years before Brosa premiered Britten's concerto, the young composer heard him as the soloist in Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto at the Proms at the Queen's Hall. Here, Sebastian Bohren makes the concerto the pairing for the Britten. Bohren's elegance, sweet tone and lithe sound are much in evidence here. The opening movement though has a strength to it as well as the sweetness. Neither Bohren nor Litton hangs around, and the movement flows well with a nice robustness to the accompaniment to combat the sweetness. Bohren gives us a beautifully sung line in the slow movement, yet still with a core of strength, and the finale is a nice combination of the perky and the muscular.

Sebastian Bohren, violin
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Andrew Litton, conductor

Sebastian Bohren
With his expressive, soulful playing, Swiss violinist Sebastian Bohren has quickly established himself as one of the most interesting talents of his generation. Ninety concerts each year as a soloist and chamber musician lead the young musician around the globe. He appears as a soloist with the Sinfonieorchester Basel, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Staatskapelle St. Petersburg, Orchestra di Padova, Zürcher and Basler Kammerorchester, and Argovia Philharmonic (among other ensembles) under the direction of Andrew Litton, James Gaffigan, Heinz Holliger, Patrick Lange, Elim Chan, Muhai Tang, and the late Heinrich Schiff. In September 2018 he gave his recital debut at the Lucerne Festival.

Sebastian Bohren’s recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, released in 2016 with RCA Red Seal, won enthusiastic acclaim from the press. In 2017 another recording followed featuring violin concertos of Mendelssohn, Hartmann, and Schubert as well as a digitally-released live album with works by Peteris Vasks and Gija Kancheli. With the ensemble CHAARTS and Gabor Takacs-Nagy, he will record the Mozart violin concertos in autumn 2018.

Bohren is a member of the Stradivari Quartet. In 2018 the ensemble will perform at venues including the Seoul Arts Center, National Center for Performing Arts Beijing, and Shanghai Symphony Hall, and will also tour Japan. Highlights of recent seasons have included performances at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, Victoria Hall in Singapore, the Rheingau Musik Festival, Kissinger Sommer, and Rubinstein Piano Festival. Their debut CD featuring Mozart’s Prussian Quartets was followed by a recording of Robert Schumann’s three string quartets in spring 2018.

The Zürich-based violinist still maintains close ties with his home, the canton of Aargau. In 2015 he was granted a sabbatical year by the Aargauer Kuratorium, and in summer 2015 he served as Festival Artist at the Boswiler Sommer festival. He successfully directs his own concert series, the Stretta Concerts, in Brugg. 2015 also marked the release of his first CD, on which he performs Ignaz Pleyel’s rarely-heard violin concerto.

Born in 1987, Sebastian Bohren graduated from the High School for the Fine Arts and Sports Rämibühl in Zürich. He completed his training in Zürich, Lucerne, and Munich with Zakhar Bron, Robert Zimansky, Igor Karsko, and Ingolf Turban. He received further instruction from Ana Chumachenco and Hansheinz Schneeberger.

He plays an instrument by G.B. Guadagnini (Parma 1776) from a Swiss private collection.

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