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César FRANCK (1822-1890)
Violin Sonata in A major [27:20]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Violin Sonata No. 1 in A major, Op.13 [23:57]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Violin Sonata (Sonatina) No.3 in G minor, D.408 [16:07]
Janine Andrade (violin)
Nicole Rolet de Castel (piano) (Franck; Fauré)
Tasso Janopoulo (piano) (Schubert)
rec. Paris, Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française, 2 December 1958 (Franck); 11 April 1960 (Fauré), 22 September 1960 (Schubert) radio studio recordings
MELOCLASSIC MC2013 [67:25]

Like many French violinists whose careers straddled the middle years of the twentieth century, Janine Andrade was not taken up by one of the major labels. Her recordings are very scarce indeed, even more hard to come by than those by her compatriot Michèle Auclair (1924-2005), who concertised around the same time. Apart from some Mozart Concertos on the Berlin Classics label, there’s a CD of the Brahms and Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos on the Japanese Grand Slam label, which is not distributed in the West and, disappointingly, makes it too expensive a proposition to have imported. I would love to hear it. I have already reviewed Meloclassic’s Auclair issue. What is remarkable is that both Andrade and Auclair studied at the Paris Conservatoire under Jacques Thibaud and Jules Boucherit. Another fellow student at the Conservatoire, Denise Soriano (1916-2006) was also a Boucherit student around the same time. In fact, Soriano eventually married Boucherit, despite a forty year age gap. Meloclassic have also feted this violinist with a CD.
Andrade was born in Besançon, famous for its International Music Festival, in 1918. She took up the violin early. Her mother was a pianist and in 1926 when Janine was only seven, she was accompanist at her daughter’s first concert. Eventually Andrade went on to study at the Paris Conservatoire under Boucherit and Thibaud. When her concert career was launched it was temporarily halted by World War 2, but when it resumed she travelled as far afield as Japan, South America and South Africa giving concerts. I was interested to read in the booklet notes that there was apparently some rivalry between her and that other great French violinist Ginette Neveu. Sadly, Neveu was killed in a plane crash in 1949. Four years later on September 1 1953, Andrade and Henryk Szeryng saw Jacques Thibaud off at the airport. Sadly his plane crashed and he did not survive.
Tragedy struck in 1972 when Andrade was only fifty-four. She suffered a massive stroke which left her with a right-sided paralysis and aphasia. Her career over, she spent her final days in a nursing home and died in hospital in 1997.
There is no doubt from what we have here that Andrade was a fine violinist. Possessing a rich, full tone, she projects a warmth and fervent expressiveness. Her vibrato isn’t as varied as the likes of Auclair, Martzy and Neveu. As a consequence, she doesn’t possess the myriad populated tonal palette that is a distinctive feature of these other artists. She does employ expressive portamenti to add grace and elegance to the line. Intonation is, on the whole, good.
The Franck and Fauré Sonatas are partnered by Nicole Rolet de Castel, and possess a Gallic charm. Well paced, with close attention to dynamics and phrasing, they are underpinned by an intelligent musicianship. The engineers of the time have achieved a satisfactory balance between the two instruments; often in recordings of this ilk the piano is thrown into relief.
The Schubert Sonatina is a delight. Although a minor work, not in the same league compositionally as the two French sonatas, Andrade gives it a run for its money. It is imbued with elegance and Viennese allure. Tasso Janopoulo provides admirable support. Each time I hear the sonatina, happy memories come flooding back of my schooldays when I played the last movement at a local music festival.
Owing to the scarcity of Andrade on disc, Meloclassic’s first CD release of these historical radio-studio recordings will be gratefully greeted by violin aficionados. Nicely packaged in a gatefold, there is a detailed biographical portrait of the artist included. A bonus is three black and white photographs of the violinist. The announcements in French preceding each work are kept in, and this adds to the intimacy of the proceedings.
A treasured document.
Stephen Greenbank