This is a highly interesting CD Which was the CD of the month several years ago. There were two key reasons for that selection:
1. It pairs two concerti written more than one hundred years apart. Beethoven’s was written in 1806, and Britten’s was composed in 1939.
2. It allows us to hear yet another young, creative, passionate interpreter, and to get a sense for how she feels this music in a way that differentiates it from the traditional, Heifetz-like interpretation.
Don’t get me wrong! I am able to sit there transfixed when I listen to Heifetz perform the Beethoven. Yet Heifetz studied with Leopold Auer, and who says that Auer had the world’s wisdom as to how Beethoven should be performed for the next 150 years?
As such, I am always intrigued by new interpretations, as long as the player shows total commitment to what the composer documented in terms of notes, dynamics, and tempo directions.
This Beethoven concerto, as interpreted by Janine Jansen, is about the genius of Beethoven and about a meditative, thoughtful interpretation. If you can really sit and listen carefully, you will find new aspects to this music that you may not have experienced before.
And Janine Jansen is a great musician, both sensitive and mature, who treats this music thoughtfully and carefully. She can do all the technical stuff easily, and when she does, it is always in fine musical taste. She performs with authority and fire, always with a beautiful tone, and a remarkable attention to Beethoven’s details of articulation.
The Britten concerto was written at a truly horrible time in modern civilization. Benjamin Britten was living in the USA in 1940 while Hitler was preparing to crush his home in England and all of Europe.
Here is the Beethoven Violin Concerto, with Janine Jansen (audio only):
And here she is again playing J. S. Bach – Sonata for Violin solo No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001