Stéphane Denève, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and James Ehnes Release Williams/Bernstein on Pentatone

29 Apr 2024

Music Director Stéphane Denève and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) have released their Pentatone debut album: Williams: Violin Concerto No. 1 and Bernstein: Serenade after Plato’s Symposium.

Denève and SLSO present a wonderful programme 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 James Ehnes, one of the most exceptional North American violinists of today. John Williams himself was present at the recording of his violin concerto, working together with the SLSO, Denève, and Ehnes. Both works evolve around love: Bernstein’s Serenade was inspired by musings on love from Plato’s Symposium while Williams’s 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.

Click here to listen and purchase.

Listen:  Stéphane Denève speaks with Classic 107.3 about the album and the remainder of SLSO’s fantastic 2023/24 season. Click here to listen on Soundcloud.