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Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Violin Concerto in D Op.77 (1879) [40:08]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Violin Concerto in D Op.35 (1880) [36:10]
Janine Andrade (violin)
Hamburg Pro Musica (North German Radio Symphony Orchestra)/Hans-Jürgen Walther
rec. c.1959, Hamburg

Janine Andrade (1918-1997) has been the subject of two releases from Meloclassic (see review and review) but in the main she’s far less well-known than her compatriot Michèle Auclair (1924-2005). There’s no doubt that Auclair was the more vivid and quasi-improvisational player, one whose responses were often as rhythmically exciting as they were gymnastically admirable. Andrade was an altogether more clement performer given the evidence of her studio recordings and radio broadcasts. Links to those previous reviews will give some biographical background to this student of Boucherit and Thibaud.

Her opportunities to set down large swathes of her repertoire were limited but that was equally true of many players of the time. She did succeed in recording two Mozart concertos with Kurt Masur and the Sibelius with Fougstedt, as well as this brace with Hans-Jürgen Walther.

Walther is careful to sculpt the orchestral introduction to the Brahms which he does in a measured fashion to prepare for Andrade’s entry. Her lower strings are less responsive than her taut upper, but she plays with vibrancy and technical address. She also employs a few deft slides and some finger position changes notably in the central movement. Notwithstanding that this isn’t overtly personalised it’s good, robust violin playing with tempi very similar to those of her compatriot Ginette Neveu.

She is similarly effective in the companion Tchaikovsky but here the ear is as often drawn to the accompanying figures, sometimes for the wrong reasons. Her first movement cadenza is interestingly voiced, and she is sensitive in the Canzonetta, where her tone takes on a veiled quality. In the finale she can be a touch dogged in the passagework, and there are no real fireworks; the result is more accomplished than workmanlike, but I’d place Ralph Holmes’ equally rarely heard performance above this. One reason for disappointment may be the odd orchestral balance and the way that piping clarinets, French horns and lower brass emerge with startling immediacy. There is some cloudy string congestion along the way that the engineers of the time were not able to resolve. Still, it’s clear that Walther was trying to bring out colour and incident throughout. The Brahms was made for Vega, the Tchaikovsky for Classic Club with licensing to Polaris, Summit and Tip. Forgotten Records’ transfers are excellent.

This concerto brace rather reinforces my view of Andrade gleaned from her radio broadcasts on Meloclassic that she was a good technician but a rather neutral interpreter.

Jonathan Woolf



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