For the Record, Op. 169: Janine Jansen 12 Stradivari; Yo-Yo Ma; Nina Kotova

September 10, 2021, 4:38 PM · Welcome to "For the Record," Violinist.com's weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Janine Jansen
Violinist Janine Jansen. Photo by Hugo Bernand.

12 Stradivari
Janine Jansen, violin
Sir Antonio Pappano, piano

It's an extreme task - getting to know 12 Stradivari violins (notoriously finicky instruments) and recording with them, all during a period of just two weeks. But Dutch violinist Janine Jansen tackled it with gusto. The result is a new recording, called "12 Stradivari," as well as a documentary film, called "Falling for Stradivari," which captures her experience of discovering each instrument’s individual qualities and immense capabilities. The documentary, directed by Gerry Fox, is currently being shown in theaters in the U.K. J&A Beare's Steven Smith arranged for all the violins to be flown to London from their various owners across the globe for the recording session. All worth millions of dollars, some of the violins had not been played for many decades while others belonged to legendary virtuosi including Fritz Kreisler, Nathan Milstein, Ida Haendel, and Oscar Shumsky. "When Steven Smith approached me about this project, I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Jansen said. "It was my chance to experience the magic of these famous instruments and to explore the differences between them." BELOW: Trailer from "Falling for Stradivari":

Notes for the Future
Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Notes for the Future brings together extraordinary artists from five continents: across nine tracks, Ma joins Angélique Kidjo, Mashrou’ Leila, Tunde Olaniran, Jeremy Dutcher, Andrea Motis, ABAO, Lila Downs, and Marlon Williams to explore our fears and hopes, reminding us that the future is ours to shape, together. BELOW: From the album: Yo-Yo Ma plays Lamentations, "Black/Folk Song Suite": III. Calvary Ostinato Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson:


A Romantic Recital: Brahms, Reger, Schumann
Nina Kotova, cello
Jose´ Feghali, piano

Russian-American cellist Nina Kotova is joined by Brazilian-born pianist Jose´ Feghali, a laureate of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The album features traditional Romantic works for cello by close friends Johannes Brahms and Robert Schumann, and fellow German composer Max Reger, in a program that spans 65 years of musical history. BELOW: "Gigue" from Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 131c/2 by Max Reger:

If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our Thursday "For the Record" feature, please e-mail Editor Laurie Niles. Be sure to include the name of your album, a link to it and a short description of what it includes.

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Replies

September 11, 2021 at 02:00 AM · Jansen noticed that the whole room seemed alive with sound. Yes -- that is what happens when you play a violin in a room where a dozen or more other violins are hanging. That's where the big shops like you to try their violins. When I practice my violin or viola the other instrument is hanging on a hook in my practice room and I can hear the resonance very clearly just from one instrument.

September 11, 2021 at 09:21 AM · JJ is a force of nature! but certainly true that that remark was naive. the whole project is a bit over the top I think. but JJ is great anyway.

September 11, 2021 at 06:30 PM · getting to know 12 Stradivari violins (notoriously finicky instruments) 

It would be interesting to know what that means, finicky? In what ways? The preview isn't showing much about what the focus of this documentary film is beside a "chance to experience the magic of these famous instruments and to explore the differences between them". Does it actually demonstrate what those differences are and how they compare to lets say a contemporary top instrument or simply documents the making of the CD?

September 12, 2021 at 04:18 PM · Lots of violins are finicky, and discovering each instrument’s individual qualities and immense capabilities can be a quite a challenge.

Funny thing:

Most players are much more willing to go through the rigors and difficult learning curve of learning to play a multi-million-dollar violin, than they are to get the best out of a cheap violin. If the cheap violin doesn't immediately do what they want, it will be set aside as being an inferior violin. If the expensive violin doesn't immediately do what they want, the conclusion may be that the violin needs more time to "train the player".

Weird stuff! Human behavioral psychology is fascinating!

September 12, 2021 at 05:18 PM · David, I don't think it's all about cheap vs. expensive. A high-quality old violin (like a 300 year-old Strad) has an established sound, and the player has to figure out how to get inside that - that takes some work and persistence. In the case of a high-quality new violin, the player helps shape its sound over time, and that also is a process that takes work and persistence. In either case, the player needs to discern some kind of quality in the instrument that inspires that kind passion to continue discovering the sound. A cheap violin that shows no promise - I mean, forget it! Same with an expensive violin that shows no promise! But with these famous old Strads, they've already been tried and tested, they have a reputation. Chances are that if Fritz Kreisler, Nathan Milstein, Ida Haendel, or Oscar Shumsky found something to love in the instrument, then there's something there to love.

September 12, 2021 at 05:53 PM · Laurie wrote:

"David, I don't think it's all about cheap vs. expensive. A high-quality old violin (like a 300 year-old Strad) has an established sound, and the player has to figure out how to get inside that - that takes some work and persistence. In the case of a high-quality new violin, the player helps shape its sound over time, and that also is a process that takes work and persistence."

_________________

I will disagree with both a 300-year-old violin having "an established sound", and the player shaping the sound of a newer violin.

My apologies once again for side-stepping your interview request at the Indianapolis Competition, and referring you to Sam Zygmuntowicz instead. I had just flown in from Moscow to New York, then to Detoit, and then driven from Detroit to Indianapolis. I was not in good shape, having not slept for something like 36 hours.

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