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Christian Ferras (1933-1982) was, alongside Jacques Thibaud, Zino Francescatti and Ginette Neveu, one of the great violinists who had a determining influence on the Franco-Belgian violin school: an art of playing the violin which is often associated with sensuality, elegance and a refined sound quality. Following his début in Paris in 1946 with the “Symphonie espagnole” by Édouard Lalo and Beethoven’s violin concerto, Ferras launched an international career.
Together with the pianist Pierre Barbizet he formed a congenial duo which lasted for three decades. His cooperation with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic during the 1960s marked the pinnacle of his career. Ferras had made his début with the Berlin Philharmonic as early as 1951. Under the baton of Karl Böhm, he performed the Beethoven violin concerto at the Titania Palast. On this occasion a studio recording was made at the Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin which is presented here. It is fascinating to experience the beauty and confident serenity of Ferras’ interpretation of the solo part when he was only eighteen years old.
A live recording from 1964 with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin under the baton of the Italian-American conductor Massimo Freccia is an impressive document of Ferras’ reading of the Alban Berg violin concerto: he saw it as a primarily romantic work which he performed with great expressiveness to striking effect. Ferras’ career took a tragic turn when, towards the end of the 1960s, he began battling with depression and alcoholism which resulted in a gradual withdrawal from concert life. In 1975, he accepted a professorship at the Paris Conservatoire and in the following years he no longer performed publicly. Ferras returned to the concert platform once more in March 1982; however, only three weeks after his final concert on 25 August 1982, at the age of 49, he took his own life.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61
I. Allegro ma non troppo
III. Rondo: Allegro
Alban Berg: Violin Concerto
I. Andante - Scherzo
II. Allegro - Adagio
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