Janine Marie Louise Andrade was born on November 13, 1918 in Besançon, France. She studied the violin at a very early age. Her mother was a pianist, and a dominant figure in furthering her musical education and development. Janine gave her first public performance at the age of seven at a Benefit Concert in 1926, accompanied by her mother at the piano.
Rapid progress on the violin permitted her to compete for admission to the Paris Conservatoire, where she studied with Jules Boucherit. By age twelve she had already won a First Prize at the conservatory in 1931: “Miss Andrade passed with flying colors through a long and exacting program. She possesses a very secure technic and an absolute control and balance over the violin. Everything she does is executed with accuracy and precision. Although we would appreciate that she plays more relaxed, more sensitive combined with charm.”
She immediately garnered great success in Switzerland in 1932, where she held her first radio recital at “Radio Suisse Romande” billed as Janine Andrade, violoniste virtuose de 12 ans. Her first solo concert in public took place that year in Lausanne.
A Swiss music critic wrote: “La prodigieuse violoniste de douze ans, Janine Andrade – “Et celle de samedi 12 mars dépassa les autres de loin. Les quelque 250 personnes, privilégiées, samedi, garderont à jamais le souvenir de ce récital. Et les autres, les quelque 200 ou 300 personnes qui auraient encore dû se trouver là, qu’elles gardent à jamais aussi le regret de s’être privé, de par leur apathie, de deux heures d’une musique profonde et intense, de deux heures de joie inoubliable. Car Janine Andrade est une artiste incomparable. Elle n’a que 12 ans, mais elle en sait plus, elle nous dit plus, avec son violon, que bien des artistes après une carrière de 20 ans et plus. A douze ans, elle possède une technique impeccable alliée à une interprétation profonde et bien au-dessus de son âge. Il y a en elle du génie : inclinons-nous ! et remercions-la pour toute cette joie qu’elle nous a procurée…Elle interpréta et joua admirablement le Concerto de Mendelssohn (c’est peut-être ce que nous avons préféré), et avec une grâce exquise “Chérubins” de Couperin; avec impétuosité et fougue une danse espagnole de de Falla; avec une fraîcheur et une clarté merveilleuses “Printemps” de Darius-Milhaud; et quelle aisance, quelle souplesse dans “Sicilienne et Rigaudon” de Francoeur-Kreisler! Dans les “Airs Russes” de Wieniawski, hérissés de difficultés, Janine Andrade a su faite apprécier sa grande virtuosité. Nous souhaitons à l’enfant, violoniste prodigieuse, une carrière et un succès dignes de son génie. N’oublions pas non plus de nommer l’accompagnatrice délicate et accomplie qu’est Mme Hewitt-Tilliard, pianiste.”
In 1936, Andrade went to study under Jacques Thibaud in Saint-Jean-de-Luz: she had already performed with him the Bach Double Concerto in D Minor in Roubaix a year before in January 1935. She continued her career as a concert violinist until the Second World War. The outbreak of war halted all performances abroad.
After World War II, Andrade took part in a cultural exchange program that had her touring throughout Austria and Germany. She performed a highly acclaimed recital with pianist Denise Hugon on December 6, 1946 in Vienna, Mozart-Saal:
• Vitali: Chaconne
• Lalo: Symphonie espagnole
• Paganini/Auer: Caprice No. 24
• Debussy/Heifetz: Clair de lune
• Ries: Perpetuum mobile
• Ravel: Tzigane
Andrade’s stature as an artist had become more widely acknowledged and she became a popular violinist, although there was a strong rivalry between her and Ginette Neveu, until Neveu passed away in 1949. Soon afterwards, Andrade’s ever increasing successes in Europe (France, England, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Scandinavia, Germany, Rumania, Tchecoslovakia) led her in the muscial centers throughout the world: Japan, Thailand, Near East, Far East, South America (April-July 1949) and South Africa (1953).
On September 1, 1953, Andrade went with Henryk Szeryng to the Paris Orly Airport to see off Thibaud, who was scheduled to perform in Japan. A few hours later Thibaud died when his Air France airliner crashed near Mt. Cemet, in the French Alps. In 1956 she was greatly honored by being appointed as Vice-President of the Jury for the Concours International de Prague. During her extensive musical trips as violinist, she played with many major orchestras led by prominent conductors, among them: Ernest Ansermet, Van Beinum, Eugène Bigot, Eugen Jochum, Ferdinand Leitner, Konwitschny, Pierre Monteux, Charles Munch, Günther Wand, Sixten Ehrling, Jean Martinon and Paul Paray.
In 1972, Andrade suffered a massive stroke while teaching students that that evolved into aphasia and hemiplegia on the right side of her body and an inability to properly speak. She was very uncomfortable without much of a future and spent her remaining years in the “Fondation Galignani” nursing home in Neuilly, France.
Andrade died in a hospital in Levallois-Perret, France on October 24, 1997.
Source: French radio program “Les après midi de France Musique”. Dr. Ponsot and Étienne Vatelot interviewed about Andrade in 1986.
© Michael Waiblinger 2014
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