Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2 [26:40] (1)
Violin Sonata No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 12, No. 3 [17:30] (2)
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Violin Sonata in B flat major, K 454 [20:06] (2)
Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937)
Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 28 (1924) [14:17] (3)
Janine Andrade (violin); Germaine Leroux (piano) (1); Hans Altmann (piano)(2); Nicole Rolet de Castel (piano)(3)
rec. 16 February 1957, Hamburg Studio, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (1); live, 24 June 1960, Ettingen, Schloss, Süddeutscher Rundfunk (2); 17 March 1955, Paris, Studio RTF, Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (3)
MELOCLASSIC MC2021 [78:34]
It was Janine Andrade’s misfortune that she was never signed up by one of the major recording companies. On the evidence of these recordings and the few others she made, she worthily ranks alongside several high-profile female violinists who gave concerts around the same time. Whilst such names as Michèle Auclair, Erica Morini, Ginette Neveu, Ida Haendel and Johanna Martzy have established a foothold in the catalogue, Andrade is almost forgotten. Apart from some Mozart Concertos on the Berlin Classics label, there’s a CD of the Brahms and Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos on the obscure Japanese Grand Slam label, and some encore pieces with Alfréd Holeček on Supraphon. It is thanks to Meloclassic that this second volume of radio studio and live recordings - I reviewed the first volume last year (review) - has been released and will, I hope, help restore this artist’s name to its rightful place.
She was born in Besançon, France in 1918. Taking up the violin early, she eventually went to the Paris Conservatoire, where her teachers included Jules Boucherit and Jacques Thibaud. Her concert career was temporarily halted by the Second World War. When it resumed she travelled as far afield as Japan, South America and South Africa giving concerts. In 1972 when she was only fifty-four, Andrade 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.
The performance of Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2 dates from 16 February 1957. Andrade’s pianist for this occasion is Germaine Leroux, and a superb duo they make. The fateful C minor opening ushers in a movement characterized by struggle and anguish. The Adagio Cantabile is nostalgic and wistful. A rhythmically-charged Scherzo precedes the tempestuous and anguish-laden Finale.
The mighty proportions and virtuosic demands of Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 12, No. 3 are admirably addressed by the violinist and her collaborator Hans Altmann in this live airing from June 1960. The technical challenges of the piano part are scarcely matched in the sonatas that were to follow, with the possible exception of the Kreutzer. What is on offer is a reading on the grand scale, with a noble and powerful opening movement. A beautiful ravishing Adagio follows, and the finale is upbeat and brimming with energy, setting the seal on a truly memorable performance.
From the same live recital the players turn their attention to what must be Mozart’s best known and best loved violin sonata, the one in B flat major, K 454. It is a performance of elegance and charm, where the sun really shines. There is nothing routine here, but everything is spontaneous, giving the listener a feeling that the music is being created on the wing.
Albert Roussel’s Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 28 is a work completely new to me. It was written in 1924 when the composer was in his mid-fifties. The performance here dates from 17 March 1955, and Andrade is partnered this time by Nicole Rolet de Castel. The Sonata places great technical demands on the violinist, with Roussel seemingly fond of double-stop passages. These, Andrade delivers with spotless intonation. What draws me to this performance is the diversity, strikingly brought out, between the three movements. The first movement is one of drama alternating with lyricism. The second movement’s sombre sparseness of the violin line, pitched against a simple, almost nondescript piano accompaniment, provides a fitting contrast. The finale is witty, capricious and almost brusque.
Andrade draws a rich full-bodied sound from her violin in these recordings. Whilst she uses some expressive devices such as portamenti and position changes, she is more sparing in their employment than some of her contemporaries. Also, her tonal palette isn’t as rich as some. Good intonation is, on the whole, achieved. Sound quality is very good and consistent throughout. Balance between the two instruments in all three venues is effectively captured. The Beethoven Op. 12, No 3 and the Mozart are credited as live performances, but I detected no audience intrusion. All the items are first CD releases, and constitute a valuable addition to Andrade’s slender discography. At 78 minutes, this is a generously timed disc.
This is the first of the ‘new look’ Meloclassic releases to come my way, and I’m very impressed. Housed in an elegant deep blue gatefold digipak, each CD is accompanied by a beautifully produced, well-written booklet, displaying a cache of black and white photographs. For the collector of artist-orientated historic recordings, everything bodes well.
Another review ...
Just a brief biographical recap: Janine Andrade (1918-1997) was another in the long line of excellent French violinists to have passed through the tutelage of Jules Boucherit, one of the most cultivated artists of his time.
At the age of 18 she took advanced lessons from Jacques Thibaud, having already played the Bach Double Concerto with him the year before. The war years restricted her performances, as they did with so many other musicians, but she resumed touring as soon as hostilities were finished. Her career won critical praise until a catastrophic stroke in 1972 brought an end to her public life. She was even denied the possibility of teaching, so severe was her illness, and she spent the last years of her life in a nursing home.
She had rather an odd career on disc. She was popular in Germany and recorded the Brahms in Hamburg with Hans-Jürgen Walther, as she did the Tchaikovsky – though this later turned up masquerading as Andre Herbern accompanied by conductor Hans Lille. There are two Mozart concertos with Kurt Masur, and, rather more well-known, the Sibelius with the Finnish Radio and Fougstedt on Decca. Evidence of her popularity in Czechoslovakia – something she shared with Ida Haendel – comes with her Supraphon LPs of encore pieces with the eminent pianist Alfréd Holeček.
The foregoing comes from a review of the first Andrade release on Meloclassic. Now here is the second. There are examples from three recitals – two German and one French – given between the years 1955 and 1960. They capture her with three different sonata partners performing Mozart, Beethoven and – most valuably indeed – Roussel. This isn’t to downplay her performances of the two Beethoven sonatas. She is, after all, captured at something like her peak in these performances and she plays the C minor with brisk, robust chording and a well-honed ensemble with Germaine Leroux. Her cantabile is fine though not overtly personalised, but she certainly captures the slow movement’s more eruptive passages. Accents in the finale are crisp, and trills tight but not of electric velocity. Both the E flat major and Mozart’s B flat major sonatas come from the same June 1960 concert with Hans Altmann. The recording quality here is more resinous and this gives an edge to her tone that’s not apparent in the earlier broadcast. She is rhythmically buoyant and if her intonation slightly strays she remains persuasively taut in the Beethoven, not least in the Rondo finale. In the Mozart she essays one or two quite overt portamenti, something that is not so audible in her more robust Beethoven performances.
It’s surprising that so few French violinists promoted Roussel’s violin works. Andrade was clearly one of the exceptions though this 1955 broadcast was made on home soil in Paris and not abroad. She really has the stylistic nuance for this sonata and her pianissimi – dynamics generally, in fact – and supple bowing are a pleasure to hear. She plays the slow movement with luscious authority and even though she lacks a sensuous tone – one can’t easily imagine her in Szymanowski, for example - she brings out the near-eroticism of certain passages strongly. The slightly cock-eyed, freewheeling finale is equally compelling.
The notes are fine though it does seem strange to include, untranslated, a French-language review of her performance amounting to a quarter of the complete text, given that the booklet is otherwise all-English. Restoration of the tapes has been expertly done.
Most importantly, none of these works is in Andrade’s studio discography, which adds to the value of this release.