Magazine article Gramophone

Forgotten Ferras

Magazine article Gramophone

Forgotten Ferras

Article excerpt

More fine violin playing arrives from French Decca (available in the UK via Discovery Records) which, following on from its highly recommendable 'L'Art de Christian Ferras' (1/13) has come up with a real rarity, a collection of morceaux--most of them additions to the violinist's repertory on disc--recorded in Japan in 1971, plus some rare 78s that, like the Japanese recital, have never previously been released on CD.

Chapter and verse on the interesting history of these recorded selections is offered in the booklet interview but some comment on the performances themselves, the majority featuring Shuku Iwasaki as the accompanying pianist, might be useful. I was surprised at Ferras's nifty account of Tchaikovsky's Andante cantabile, though tone colouring is typically sensitive and, at the further end of the spectrum, Wilhelmj's arrangement of the Air from Bach's Third Suite, famously transferred to the G string and sustained at a fairly broad tempo. Pieces such as Boccherini's ubiquitous Minuet and Kreisler's charming Schon Rosmarin are dispatched crisply and with a light bow, and Mendelssohn's 'On Wings of Song' (in Achron's arrangement) is beautifully played.

I wasn't quite so sure about Schubert's 'Standchen' (from Schwanengesang), where the (uncredited) arranger adds rather too many fiddly embellishments to keep the expressive purity of the piece intact. I'd been listening to David Nadien's wonderful recording (from the album 'Humoresque' --Kapp Records) with its interpretative nobility and intensely seductive tone quality, which keeps to the musical point more or less without deviation. …

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