Christian Ferras ∙ Hamburg Recitals 1951-1964 ∙ 2CD


This double album dedicated to Christian Ferras, drawn from the archives of Radio Hamburg, features the great French violinist at his formidable best. Accompanied by Pierre Barbizet, his inseparable partner for many years. The duo never commercially recorded Saint-Saëns’s Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso and Havanaise, presented in the double album as an enrichment of their discography.

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CHRISTIAN FERRAS Violin Recitals in Hamburg 1951-1964

CD 1

DEBUSSY: Violin Sonata in G Minor, L 148
FRANCK: Violin Sonata in A Major, FWV 8
KREISLER: Rondino on a Theme by Beethoven
KREISLER: Caprice Viennois, Op 2

Recorded ∙ 26 November 1951 ∙ Hamburg ∙ Studio 10 ∙ NDR ∙ Radio Studio Recording

FAURÉ: Violin Sonata No 1 in A Major, Op 13
Recorded ∙ 06 November 1953 ∙ Hamburg ∙ Studio 10 ∙ NDR ∙ Radio Studio Recording

MILHAUD: Le Boeuf sur le toit
DINICU: Hora staccato (Arr. by Jascha Heifetz)

Recorded ∙ 23 November 1952 ∙ Hamburg ∙ Studio 10 ∙ NDR ∙ Radio Studio Recording

Christian Ferras ∙ violin
Pierre Barbizet ∙ piano

CD 2

KREISLER: Allegretto in the Style of Boccherini
CHAMINADE: Serenade Espagnole (Arr. by Fritz Kreisler)

Recorded ∙ 23 November 1952 ∙ Hamburg ∙ Studio 10 ∙ NDR ∙ Radio Studio Recording

KREISLER: Schön Rosmarin
KREISLER: Liebesfreud
SAINT-SAËNS: Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso, Op 28
MOZART: Violin Sonata in B-flat Major, KV 454

Recorded ∙ 16 March 1955 ∙ Hamburg ∙ Studio 10 ∙ NDR ∙ Radio Studio Recording

MOZART: Violin Sonata in A Major, KV 305/293d
SAINT-SAËNS: Havanaise in E Major, Op 83
RAVEL: Tzigane
SARASATE: Romanza Andaluza, Op 22, No 1
WIENIAWSKI: Polonaise concertante in D Major, Op 4

Recorded ∙ 26 October 1964 ∙ Hamburg ∙ Studio 10 ∙ NDR ∙ Radio Studio Recording

Christian Ferras ∙ violin
Pierre Barbizet ∙ piano

Article number: MC 2043
UPC barcode: 791154050743
Release date: 14 September 2020
Booklet: 8 Pages
Total timing: 79:45 CD1 ∙  76:03 CD2
From the Original Masters ∙ © 2020 Meloclassic

March 2021 ∙ French Diapason ∙ Jean-Michel Molkhou ∙ Christian Ferras · Violin Recitals in Hamburg 1951-1964
Ce sont des inédits, puisés dans les archives de la Radio de Hambourg, que réunit ce généreux double album consacré à Christian Ferras, donnant à entendre le grand violoniste français en son âge d’or. En compagnie de Pierre Barbizet, son inséparable partenaire, il livre en 1951 une interprétation envoûtante de la sonate de Debussy, dans laquelle les deux complices, ivres de liberté, se donnent sans compter. Si, pour la sonate de Franck, leur seconde gravure Officielle (DG, 1965) reste un idéal esthétique, ce même concert de 1951 vaut pour une vibrante spontanéité, témoignage de l’influence qu’avait encore Enesco sur le jeu du violoniste. Dans la Sonate op. 13 de Fauré, captéeen 1953, Barbizet apporte à son partenaire une réplique sur mesure, attentif à la moindre de ses inflexions rythmiques, à la plus subtile de ses nuances. Le duo est proprement irrésistible en 1952 dans Le Boeuf sur le Toit de Milhaud, « cinéma-fantaisie » aux harmonies délibérément déroutantes, chaplinesques, et à la pulsation déchaînée. Deux æuvres enrichissent la discographie du duo : la grande Sonate W 454 de Mozart, au dialogue vif, élégant et infiniment touchant en 1955, et la Havanaise de Saint-Saëns dont le déhanchement leur sied comme un gant en 1964. Relevons encore un démoniaque Hora staccato de Dinicu (arrangé par Heifetz) ob Ferras offre à l’état brut son incomparable instinct, et une délicieuse série de miniatures signées Kreisler. D’incandescentes visions de I’lntroduction et rondo capriccioso de Saint-Saäns, de Tzigane de Ravel, de la Romance andalouse de Sarasate et de la Polonaise op. 4 de Wieniawski, ainsi qu’une frétillante Sonate KV 305 de Mozart, parachèvent le portrait de cet artiste exalté et si prodigieusement doué. Agrémentés d’une notice fort documentée et de quelques rares photos d’époque, ces enregistrements reproduits à partir des masters originaux, raviront tous les admirateurs de I’une des personnalités violonistiques les plus fascinantes du XXe siècle et du plus fusionnel des duos français.
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March 2021 ∙ MusicWeb International ∙ Christian Ferras · Violin Recitals in Hamburg 1951-1964
Recommended Recording: I’ve always been a fan of Christian Ferras, and there are many features of his playing which propel him into that elite group of violinists who are gifted with that special something. These radio recordings date from 1951-1964, and showcase the artist from his teenage years until his early thirties, capturing his artistry at its peak before his later struggles began to impinge on his playing. Early on he met the pianist Pierre Barbizet with whom he formed one of the most famous partnerships in the history of piano-violin collaboration. Barbizet partners him throughout these recitals. The content is divided up between sonatas and encore pieces. CD 1 offers three French sonatas. Each was recorded by the duo commercially, so it’s gratifying to have these alternate live versions. Debussy’s Sonata in G minor was the composer’s last major work, written when he was suffering from the cancer that was to end his life. The performance benefits from Ferras’ overlay of colours and bold impassioned playing. Barbizet provides sensitive support. The Franck is a no holes barred reading, with the passion and ardor flowing from each player in equal measure. It combines dramatic intensity with rhetorical gesture. The sonata has been described as ‘piano friendly’ and I suppose this accounts for its popularity among duos. The heartfelt anguish of the Recitative-Fantasia third movement is vitally projected, and the finale basks in the music’s rich lyricism. Fauré’s Violin Sonata No 1 in A major has plenty of freshness and character. I applaud the radiant warmth of the slow movement, with the scherzo-like third movement showcasing some sparkling spiccatos. Of the two Mozart Sonatas on CD2, K454 is the most popular and well-loved. The duo bring warmth, elegance and refinement to their Mozart playing, with everything sounding spontaneous and fresh. In the B flat Sonata the outer movements exude joy and excitement, whilst the slow movement’s rapt intensity is nothing short of seductive. As for the encore pieces, this is a genre Ferras truly excels in. There are several Kreisler pieces, which greatly benefit from the violinist’s opulent tone and colour scheme. Particularly fine is Caprice Viennois, which is bathed in old-world charm and nostalgia, but never oversteps the boundaries of good taste by sounding schmaltzy. Schön Rosmarin impresses for its elasticity of rhythm and nuance. Yet, the star of the show is Kreisler’s arrangement of Chaminade’s Serenade Espagnole. Here Ferras employs suave, seductive slides and rubato to spice up this technically demanding piece. Dinicu’s Hora staccato doesn’t disappoint either. Sarasate’s Romanza Adaluza captivates for its magical moments, and in Saint-Saëns Havanaise the double-stop passages are fluent. Ravel’s Tzigane is soused in gypsy swagger. Sound quality is consistently good throughout, with the two artists well-balanced. Lynn Ludwig’s restorations are carried out with her usual dedicated skill and expertise. The accompanying liner gives a comprehensive biography of the violinist’s life with its accompanying vicissitudes. Outstanding in every respect, this release is strongly recommended.
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April 2021 ∙ British Gramophone ∙ Rob Cowan ∙ Christian Ferras · Violin Recitals in Hamburg 1951-1964
Melo Classic has recently curated two admirable Ferras double-packs, one chronicling performances with pianist Pierre Barbizet, opening with an account of Debussy’s Sonata (1951) that is far more playfully seductive than the version this duo recorded for Warner Classics some years later. Also included, two Mozart sonatas (K454 and 305), sonatas by Fauré (No 1) and Franck, Milhaud’s Le boeuf sur le toit and a whole host of shorter pieces.
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