Born in Luxembourg, but long since resident in Baden-Baden,
Jeannot Heinen is a prolific composer (according to the accompanying
booklet he has ‘so far written or transcribed 446 works of all types’).
Music for the violin has formed a major part of his output. a His music
reflects many influences: in character it is predominantly though not
The Violin Concerto no 2 is in two movements. The first
is in five continuous sections which seek to explore ‘different kinds
of dialogue’ between soloist and orchestra. The violin writing is of
a bold, rhapsodic character and makes severe technical demands on the
soloist, here splendidly met by the composer’s Bulgarian wife, Dora
Entcheva. The second movement, after an adagio opening, develops
into a bustling, highly charged affair ‘in modo bulgaro’. The unusually
large orchestra which Heininen deploys is used with well-calculated
The Fantasy for String Orchestra was originally written
for violin and piano. In it the composer displays an addiction to dense
textures, sweeping gestures and dramatic outbursts. Vassil Ivanov gives
an assured account of the important part for solo violin.
In the Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra the composer’s
wife is joined by their daughter, Marie-Denise, to make this disc very
much a family affair. The piece consists of four interlinked sections,
of which the vivid, energetic third (Rondes) is the most arresting.
Both soloists display formidable command of their material (harmonics
and other technical effects much to the fore), but both also reveal
warm, dark tone. Again the composer uses a large orchestra, making much
use of tuned percussion.
These are works worth exploring: some grey and gritty
passages notwithstanding, they offer generally accessible listening.
The performances are consistently excellent and the recordings clear
and spacious, if a little too forward for my taste.
Works worth exploring: some grey and gritty passages
notwithstanding, they offer generally accessible listening. Performances
consistently excellent and recordings clear and spacious, if a little