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Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto in D major, op. 61 (1806) [42:03] Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041 (1717–23) [18:29] Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899)
Poème Op.25 (1896) [14:08]
Janine Andrade (violin: Beethoven)
Jeanne Gautier (violin: Bach and Chausson)
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Franz Konwitschny (Beethoven)
South-West German Radio Orchestra/Hans Rosbaud (Bach)
Orchester des Reichssenders Frankfurt/Hans Rosbaud (Chausson)
rec. 1937, Frankfurt, Funkhaus (Chausson); 1951, Baden-Baden Studio 1, SWF (Bach); 1959, Liederhalle, Stuttgart (Beethoven) MELOCLASSIC MC2038 [74:43]
For me, the star of the show here is Janine Andrade (1918-1997). The dearth of commercial recordings by the artist is due to the fact that she never held a contract with a major label. What is available is a disc of Mozart Concertos on Berlin Classics, and a CD of the Brahms and Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos on the Japanese Grand Slam label. To redress the balance, Meloclassic have thankfully already issued two volumes of violin sonatas by various composers which I had the good fortune to review (review ~ review).
She hailed from Besançon, France and 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 Jules Boucherit. 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. Sadly, in 1972 when 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.
Andrade's Beethoven Concerto is distinguished by nobility and patrician elegance, with emphasis on the work’s reflective qualities. She plays the Joachim cadenza in the first movement with virtuosic aplomb. The slow movement offers a wealth of interpretative insights. I love the way she caresses the long lyrical lines, with Franz Konwitschny matching phrase for phrase. The finale has plenty of rhythmic vigour and bite. Intonation is, for the most part, secure, and Andrade's tone has burnished bloom and radiance.
Jeanne Gautier (1898–1974) was a pupil of Henri Berthelier at the Paris Conservatoire; she belongs to a tradition of French violinists which included Henry Merckel, Ginette Neveu and Michèle Auclair. Later in her career she teamed up with pianist
Genevieve Joy and cellist André Levy to form the Trio de France who, for the most part, devoted themselves to French and contemporary music. The Strad magazine described her playing as embodying “a quintessentially Gallic blend of astringency and sensuousness”.
The Bach Violin Concerto in E major offers an example of the inconsistencies in Gautier's playing. The slow movement sounds very much a product of the old-school, pre-Heifetz way. Ungainly slides, especially downward portamenti, sound very anachronistic to our modern ears. Intonation is wayward at times, which doesn’t help matters. It's not a performance that endears itself. The Chausson, on the other hand, truly delights. The intonation problems that afflicted the Bach are no longer an issue. The opulent sweep of the reading, radiant, resonant and powerful makes for a satisfying account. Hans Rosbaud is a sympathetic conductor and is with the violinist every step of the way.
Lynn Ludwig has done a sterling job with the audio restorations, with the sound pleasing throughout, even the Chausson from way back in 1937. Michael Waiblinger, Meloclassic's regular booklet writer, provides his usual detailed biographies. All told, though, the more I hear Janine Andrade's playing, the more impressed I am.
You can experience the great violinist in action in this extremely rare footage on Youtube. It captures a moment of her supreme artistry.
In 1956-57 and 1965, Andrade recorded
two LPs for Supraphon. These recordings, though never released on CD
internationally, were issued on CD by Supraphon Japan in 2004. A digital
release of these two LPs can also be purchased directly from Supraphon's