2024 (Composed 1976)

Composed by John Williams
Conducted by Stéphane Denève
James Ehnes, violin
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Recorded at Power Hall in St. Louis, MO
Bernstein Serenade: Jan 2023/Violin Concerto: Nov 2019

Pentatone PTC 5187 148
Format: CD
Total Playing Time: 61:28 (JW 30:30)
Date: April 29, 2024
Cat. No. CP63-501

Track Listing

Leonard Bernstein (1918 – 1990): Serenade

  1. I. Phaedrus. Pausanias. Lento and Allegro (06:27)
  2. II. Aristophanes. Allegretto (04:23)
  3. III. Eryximachus. Presto (01:31)
  4. IV. Agathon. Adagio (07:36)
  5. V. Socrates. Alcibiades. Molto tenuto – Allegro molto vivace (11:00)

John Williams (b. 1932): Violin Concerto No. 1

  1. I. Moderato (10:58)
  2. II. Slowly. In peaceful contemplation (09:34)
  3. III. Broadly. Maestoso – Quickly (09:56)


The St. Louis Symphony and their music director Stéphane Denève present a wonderful program 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 star James Ehnes, one of the most exceptional North American violinists. John Williams himself was present at the recording of his violin concerto, working together with the St. Louis Symphony, 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. The St. Louis Symphony, Stéphane Denève, and James Ehnes all make their Pentatone debut.