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Christian Ferras (1933 - 1982)

The recordings of violinist Christian Ferras demonstrate a curious duality of style: on the one hand a tightly wound, somewhat harsh, brassy sound with nagging and intrusive vibrato (found particularly in some of his later work); on the other, a warmer, more old-fashioned, Romantic approach, with conspicuous portamenti and tempo rubato. To some extent, chronology plays a part—recordings before 1960 tend towards the latter style—but this is not clear-cut. It may be that Ferras consciously began to impose a modernist style on Classical works in keeping with current trends (which would explain why his 1964 Sibelius Concerto has stylistic traits in common with his 1951 Beethoven); but however this may be, a detailed study of Ferras’s whole discography would give fascinating insights into post-war stylistic change in established repertoire. Ferras’s struggle with depression that, tragically, led to his suicide at the age of forty nine, may also be a factor in his changeable interpretative approach.




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