Christian Ferras - Recital

Fascinating portraits of four violin talents

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, César Franck, Gabriel Fauré, Igor Stravinsky, Jean Sibelius, Johann Sebastian Bach, Grigoras Dinicu

Genre:

DVD

Label: Classic Archives

Media Format: Digital Versatile Disc

Media Runtime: 118

Mastering:

Stereo

Catalogue Number: 490443-9

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Jean Sibelius, Composer
Christian Ferras, Violin
French Radio National Orchestra
Jean Sibelius, Composer
Zubin Mehta, Conductor
Sonata for Violin and Piano César Franck, Composer
César Franck, Composer
Christian Ferras, Violin
Pierre Barbizet, Piano
Chanson russe Igor Stravinsky, Composer
Christian Ferras, Violin
Igor Stravinsky, Composer
Robert Weisz, Piano
Berceuse Gabriel Fauré, Composer
Christian Ferras, Violin
Gabriel Fauré, Composer
Pierre Petit, Piano
Hora Staccato Grigoras Dinicu, Composer
Christian Ferras, Violin
Grigoras Dinicu, Composer
Pierre Petit, Piano
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 4 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer
Jerzy Semkow, Conductor
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer
Zino Francescatti, Violin
(3) Sonatas and 3 Partitas, Movement: Partita No. 3 in E, BWV1006 Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer
Christian Ferras, Violin
Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer

Composer or Director: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ottokar (Eugen) Novácek, Jean-Marie Leclair, Maurice Ravel, Béla Bartók, Pietro Antonio Locatelli, Fritz Kreisler, Claude Debussy, Johannes Brahms, Josef Suk, Johann Sebastian Bach

Genre:

DVD

Label: Classic Archives

Media Format: Digital Versatile Disc

Media Runtime: 104

Mastering:

Stereo

Catalogue Number: 490439-9

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Johannes Brahms, Composer
Henryk Szeryng, Violin
Johannes Brahms, Composer
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire
Paul Paray, Conductor
(6) Romanian Folkdances Béla Bartók, Composer
Béla Bartók, Composer
Henryk Szeryng, Violin
Tasso Janopoulo, Piano
(12) Sonatas for Violin and Continuo, Quatrième, Movement: No 3 D Jean-Marie Leclair, Composer
Henryk Szeryng, Violin
Jean-Marie Leclair, Composer
Tasso Janopoulo, Piano
(21) Hungarian Dances, Movement: No. 17 in F sharp minor Johannes Brahms, Composer
Henryk Szeryng, Violin
Johannes Brahms, Composer
Tasso Janopoulo, Piano
Tzigane Maurice Ravel, Composer
Henryk Szeryng, Violin
Maurice Ravel, Composer
Tasso Janopoulo, Piano
(3) Sonatas and 3 Partitas, Movement: Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV1001 Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer
Henryk Szeryng, Violin
Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer
(24) Caprices, Movement: No. 23 in D, "Il laberinto armonico" Pietro Antonio Locatelli, Composer
Henryk Szeryng, Violin
Pietro Antonio Locatelli, Composer
(6) Pieces, Movement: Love song Josef Suk, Composer
Henryk Szeryng, Violin
Josef Suk, Composer
Tasso Janopoulo, Piano
Perpetuum Mobile Ottokar (Eugen) Novácek, Composer
Henryk Szeryng, Violin
Ottokar (Eugen) Novácek, Composer
Tasso Janopoulo, Piano
(La) Plus que lente Claude Debussy, Composer
Claude Debussy, Composer
Henryk Szeryng, Violin
Tasso Janopoulo, Piano
Serenade No. 7, "Haffner", Movement: Rondo (Allegro) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer
Henryk Szeryng, Violin
Michael Isador, Piano
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer
Recitativo and Scherzo-Caprice Fritz Kreisler, Composer
Fritz Kreisler, Composer
Henryk Szeryng, Violin
Michael Isador, Piano

Composer or Director: Felix Mendelssohn, César Franck, Franz Schubert, George Enescu, Béla Bartók

Genre:

DVD

Label: Classic Archives

Media Format: Digital Versatile Disc

Media Runtime: 107

Mastering:

Stereo

Catalogue Number: 490451-9

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Sonata for Violin and Piano César Franck, Composer
César Franck, Composer
Hephzibah Menuhin, Piano
Yehudi Menuhin, Violin
Piano Trio No. 1 Franz Schubert, Composer
Franz Schubert, Composer
Hephzibah Menuhin, Piano
Maurice Gendron, Cello
Yehudi Menuhin, Violin
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 Béla Bartók, Composer
Béla Bartók, Composer
Hephzibah Menuhin, Piano
Yehudi Menuhin, Violin
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3, 'dans le caract George Enescu, Composer
George Enescu, Composer
Hephzibah Menuhin, Piano
Yehudi Menuhin, Violin
Variations sérieuses Felix Mendelssohn, Composer
Felix Mendelssohn, Composer
Hephzibah Menuhin, Piano
Contrasts Béla Bartók, Composer
Béla Bartók, Composer
Jeremy Menuhin, Piano
Thea King, Clarinet
In violin terms, if the second quarter of the 20th century saw the Great Individualists, the third quarter belonged to the Great Perfectionists: Heifetz, Milstein, Grumiaux, Oistrakh and Kogan brought the instrument to a peak never heard before or since. Suddenly they were gone, leaving Perlman on a lonely eminence, and today only Vadim Repin upholds their standard. The three violinists here are all worthy, especially Menuhin, to be mentioned in the same breath as the Perfect Five; and these visual compilations, while fragmentary as portraits, are often fascinating.

Ferras shared a teacher with Menuhin and a partiality to alcohol with Szeryng – in the Frenchmen’s case it proved fatal. Polish-born Szeryng, if too bumptious to be a profound interpreter, was a damned good one, especially in Mozart (represented here only by a Kreisler-isation). He had the measure of the Brahms Concerto, witness his RCA record with Monteux, and this live performance with another eminent French conductor will not disappoint: it sweeps and soars as the best Brahms does. We also get valuable glimpses of Paray’s conducting. Elsewhere we have wonderful demonstrations of Szeryng’s bow control, phrasing and stylistic sense, including a sterling Bach fugue. I miss only the Spanish and South American trifles I heard him play so mesmer-ically. Two 1975 bonus tracks add colour but sadly that very quality had by then departed from the playing. An endearing sidelight is that many tracks feature Tasso Janopoulo, who worked with Szeryng’s idol Thibaud.

Ferras, like Menuhin an Enescu disciple, shows his second-hand Romanian credentials with a nicely relaxed Hora staccato. But the heart and soul of his programme is a gorgeous Franck Sonata with his regular partner and mentor Pierre Barbizet (here described as his accompanist!); it features lovely soft playing from Ferras, who could spend too much time emoting in an all-purpose fashion. That is the only problem with this Sibelius Concerto, staunchly supported by Mehta and featuring fabulous viola solos (is the grande dame in the first viola chair Alice Merckel?). There is not enough relief from the soloist’s pumped-out vibrato and the slow movement is ground out so intensely from bar 1 that there is nowhere for Ferras to go. I did not enjoy the Stravinsky, misconceived by the soloist (with romantic touches, forsooth), shoddily accompanied and routinely conducted, with edgy violin sound. The short pieces are nicely played, especially the Fauré, but Ferras is rather upstaged by the ‘bonus’, Mozart’s K218 concerto with Zino Francescatti. It is no more than an everyday outing for the old fox and the sound is not first rate but it reveals in an instant what Ferras lacked: charisma.

Whatever the ‘prodigophiles’ may tell you, Menuhin was at his peak (with the odd off-day) in his forties, 1956 to 1966. His Franck Sonata from 1960 is as noble as his profile and at the piano, sister Hephzibah (like Barbizet) plays all the notes, still a shock to those of us who were reared on Cortot. The other fine performance here is Hephzibah’s beautiful ‘bonus’ rendering of Mendelssohn’s Variations sérieuses, which subtly brings out the work’s Bachian affinities. Schubert’s B flat Trio with Gendron is, like these artists’ commercial recording, pleasant but stubbornly unmemorable, though better balanced. Bartók’s Contrasts and movements from his First Sonata and Enescu’s Third – all in colour – are interesting, though Menuhin’s own contributions are scratchy and scrappy enough for me not to be in a hurry to view them again.

A minor but constant irritation with these EMI/IMG discs is that you have to click the zapper far too often to get what you want. Other firms’ products are more user-friendly. The notes to the Menuhin and Szeryng programmes are interesting but those for the Ferras go in for special pleading and verge on the nonsensical. In general the presentationis excellent, with plenty of photographs, and the sound is adequate for its time unless otherwise noted.

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