Radiant Beauty: JANINE JANSEN IN BRAHMS & BARTOK
Janine Jansen reinforces her status as one of the world’s greatest violinists
Long-awaited release of her debut recording of Brahms’s Violin Concerto
Innovative coupling with Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 1.
“Jansen’s strong attack and rhythmic acuity created an engaging account of the gypsy-inspired finale, and she displayed exquisite delicacy and cantabile phrasing in her quietly impassioned reading of the slow movement.” - Concert review of Brahms’s Violin Concerto, Sydney, The Australian (March 2015)
Two landmark concertos receive sensational performances in Janine Jansen’s latest recording for Decca, set for international release in November 2015. The Dutch violinist, described by The Times as “a player you follow wherever she leads”, presents her profound insights into Johannes Brahms’s monumental Violin Concerto and youthful Béla Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 1. She recorded the Brahms with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the Bartók with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano. Jansen’s past Decca releases have achieved astonishing success in the digital music charts, earning her the title of “Queen of the Download” (Independent) and No. 1 positions in the iTunes pop and classical charts.
Janine Jansen first performed Brahms’s Violin Concerto with Antonio Pappano in 2012, developing a visionary interpretation of the work over the course of eight concerts.
“I remember feeling very excited to be working with him, but nothing had prepared me for the sheer passion and energy that he generates from an orchestra,” she recalls. “Most especially he encourages a singing, radiant cantabile.”
The violinist and conductor returned to the score in February 2015, expressing its magical blend of lyrical beauty and symphonic power in three performances recorded live in vibrant high-definition sound by Decca.
Jansen is the first major artist to couple the two works on the same album. “To me they seem a natural pairing,” she observes.
Janine Jansen’s Decca recording of the Brahms concerto can be heard in the soundtrack of Public Works (Publieke werken), a major new Dutch feature film scheduled for release on 10 December 2015. Public Works is based on Thomas Rosenboom’s eponymous novel, set in the 1880s, about an Amsterdam violin maker, his nephew, a country pharmacist, and simmering tensions within late nineteenth-century society.
Brahms was inspired to create his only violin concerto in the summer of 1878 by his old friend, the violinist and composer Joseph Joachim. The work includes fiendishly difficult passages written to suit Joachim’s long fingers and a finale filled with the energy and spice of Hungarian gypsy music. Bartók’s first violin concerto, written in 1907-08 but not published until the late 1950s, also includes elements of traditional music from the composer’s native Hungary. Its strongest influence, however, proved to Steffi Geyer, the strikingly beautiful young Hungarian violinist with whom Bartók was deeply in love.
Janine Jansen will perform the Brahms concerto again this autumn with the Münchner Philharmoniker and Valery Gergiev in Munich, Frankfurt and Essen and with the Wiener Symphoniker and David Zinman in Vienna. Her account of Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 1 can he heard with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Andris Nelsons on 16 & 17 September in Amsterdam and at the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest on 19 September.