Beethoven, Britten: Violin Concertos

Beethoven, Britten: Violin Concertos

by Janine Jansen


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Coupling Beethoven's and Britten's violin concertos was a brilliant idea; both start with timpani tattoos, but the former is much better known, and pairing them together will expose at least some listeners to music they might not ordinarily hear. Taken on their own merits, both violinist Janine Jansen and Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen are superb, but bringing them together in the Beethoven concerto was a colossal mistake, for the simple reason that the Dutch violinist and the German orchestra are not playing in remotely the same style. Jansen is a modern violinist who makes tasteful use of the tools of violin playing developed in the 200 years since the concerto was written -- vibrato, glissando, and other tone-enhancing techniques -- while the Bremen musicians eschew nearly all that for the purer style of the composer's own time, albeit on modern instruments. Though individually both Jansen and the Bremen musicians are excellent players, the disjuncture between the styles of the two is unnerving, to say the least. Jansen's technique is fully formed and flashy, while her interpretation is big-boned but lyrical. Led by Paavo Järvi, the orchestra's playing is as tight, sweet, and strong as it is in its series of Beethoven's symphonies. No such problems afflict the Britten concerto since the London Symphony Orchestra is on hand, and the combination is a performance as musical and moving as it is cogent and cohesive. Decca's sound is clear, clean, and transparent, but oddly lacking in depth, warmth, and richness.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/29/2009
Label: Decca
UPC: 0028947815303
catalogNumber: 001328102
Rank: 84906


  1. Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61
  2. Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 15

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Beethoven, Britten: Violin Concertos 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
BillyBadgett More than 1 year ago
I was driving back to the hotel at 9PM. Very tired and very full. Out of sorts from the travel, the food, the time zone shift and a myriad of business issues that filled my head. I turned on the radio and this incredicible concerto was playing. As I drove it drew more and more of my attention. It wasn't the fire of of Pagannini it wasn't the raw touch to my soul of Rachmoninoff or Schotsikovich - - but it gripped me. It was one of the best performances I have heard of any group. The concerto itself is gorgeous. And then the orchestra dropped away and just the violin played - and played - and played. I drove down the highway and cried. Tears tears streaming down my cheeks and my breath caught and choked. This was music. This wwas that moment I wish for and hope for as a musician, as an audience. This was beautiful. This was that god-moment of silence and stillness in my world filled by the sound of violin. Kori wah nan des kah? Kori was satori des. Singular and personal, yes - but the beauty would still be universal and is self evident. My hotel was close and I sat in my rented VW bug in the parkinglot in this new city in the strange hotel listening to this concerto so wonderfully played. I had to research online the station and used my receipt from the restaurant against the playtimes of their playlist. I will buy this CD and I will cherish the incredible joy in this performance and in this music. The moment I first heard this concerto has passed - but I will listen to this again and again. I cannot yet rate the sound quality as I heard it on the radio on the speaker of a rented car. What I heard was crisp and expansive. At performances I hate meeting performers afterwards and that awkward shake of hands where they are not sure what you heard and I'm not sure what to tell about what I would listen: and both being quite inadequate expressions of the rehearsals the practice the memorizations and the exponential arrival at that moment from all the other performaces and studios before. However - I wished I could greet Janine after this performance. I dont know what I would say and I dont care what she would respond - but the resonance her playing rang in my heart must be eveident. Even now writing this I am struck by it and am weeping again. I never weep for violins - I am an oboeist and countertenor - Im way too haughty to consider weeping for violins! But this - for this I will always cherish the incredible violinist I never met. If you do not have this it needs be a part of your musical collection. This surpasses the everyday into something I listen to with a little awe, a little jealousy and a lot of overwhelming emotion. Billy Badgett
Ludwigvan1952 More than 1 year ago
I downloaded this from another site and listened to it on my iPod today. Beethoven's Violin Concerto is a tough piece to bring off because of its sunny nature. It's easy for it to seem glib and a little bland without the drama of his more exciting pieces. I was amazed that I reacted so strongly to Ms. Jensen's performance. Just get this. I'm going to purchase the CD as soon as I get my birthday money. The Britten, which I'm not familiar with, is a very interesting and challenging piece and played to a fare-thee-well. Jarvi and the Bremen orchestra are recorded with some of the finest sound I have ever heard anywhere, bar none. A beautiful recording.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago