Christian Ferras

January 21, 2008 at 01:22 AM · I do not understand why Christian Ferras is more well known. He isn't as well known as Milstein, Heifetz, etc... He has a wonderful expressive vibrato, french style, great slides/portamenti, wonderful colors to his sound, great expression, technically perfect, etc...

Samples of his playing

Sibelius Concerto second movement

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYR9ychIPJc

Faure Berceuse

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=christian+ferras+berceuse&search=Search

Replies (28)

January 21, 2008 at 02:23 AM · He didn't live as long as them, because he committed suicide. Extremely tragic. I love his playing a lot.

March 22, 2008 at 08:39 PM · I had a few vinyls as a boy... one of them was Christian Ferras' Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn concertos, one was him playing Bach's double concerto with Menuhin... It is definitely his "fault" that I fell in love with this instrument. It is difficult to explain why he is not more known; I haven't heard a violinist that can conveys so much emotional expression through music. Technically, there are probably a few players better than him. One of the reasons could be the discography and what sells better. Big business dictates what will be re-published.

March 23, 2008 at 02:33 PM · I don't understand either why he was not more popular. He certaintly has technique, and played with more emotion than most violinist of his era. As far as showing the violinists' individuality through music, I have always favored the encore's. I have two cd's of Ferras playing encores. One is called 'Magic Violin, Immortal Melodies, and the other is called Liebesfreud Liebesleid. If you love a singing violin, try to purchase either one of those cd's. The Liebesfrued Liebesleid cd contains Ferras playing the Schubert Ave Maria, which in my opinion is probably the best recording I have heard of that piece. We want to hear more Ferras!!

March 23, 2008 at 05:35 PM · It always seemed to me like he just never got picked up by the big business marketing machine, and was able to get "only" as far as you could get by being a fantastic violinist. If he'd had the publicity agent that Heifetz had, we might remember him better now. (Also he was reportedly an alcoholic, which probably had an impact on his playing)

March 23, 2008 at 06:13 PM · I never heard it.

March 23, 2008 at 07:17 PM · To more or less echo what Rocky said, I've never heard a more expressive player. Technically, he was perhaps slightly less consistent than a Heifetz, Milstein or Oistrakh, but he was a daredevil virtuoso all the same. Actually I have a lot of live recordings which are still more striking than his better-known studio recordings. He probably reached his greatest fame as Karajan's chosen violinist in the 1960s, but they don't show him at his unrestrained best. These live recordings are mostly unavailable commercially and just electrifying. I have been in touch with a French record label about releasing them, I hope it will happen. As for what is available, there's a Brahms on the French Radio Archives label (INA) and on Urania a Beethoven from 1951 (when he was just 18) with Bohm conducting, in which he plays both like an angel and like a devil. (Not simultaneously...) There are also a couple of DVDs and for those who speak French a wonderful biography, "Le Violon d'Icare" by Thierry de Choudens.

He did become an alcoholic and his career went on a tragic slide in the 1970s. He committed suicide in 1982. A few months before, when I was a small kid, I heard what was meant to be his comeback recital in Paris, it was a big event which I regret not to rememember clearly. But he wasn't able to fight his demons.

Best, Nathaniel

March 23, 2008 at 10:53 PM · Greetings,

I wrote a while back so apologies for repetition.

As a kind of mini project I went through all the recordings of the Beethoven violinsonatas I could get hold of and tried ot judge them from a variety of differnet perespectives. In terms of the most faithful to the score (without any blind pedantry) Ferras was the closest by far (with a couple of glaring omisisons that surprise dme). Little by little I came to prefer his verisons above all others including the gorgeous set by Oistrakh thta had been my favorite for years.

Cheers,

Buri

March 24, 2008 at 01:17 AM · There's a 5-CD set of Christian Ferras by EMI France, "Les Introuvables (unfindables) de Christian Ferras". It includes his recording of the Mendelssohn E minor concerto with the Philharmonia and Constantin Silvestri, which was originally released on LP by EMI UK but for many years was not available on CD.

His life ended rather sadly at the age of 49 in 1982, after years of struggling with depression.

March 24, 2008 at 03:27 AM · Buri said:"Little by little I came to prefer his verisons above all others including the gorgeous set by Oistrakh thta had been my favorite for years."

even over Heifetz w/Toscanini or Munch?

March 24, 2008 at 03:39 AM · Greetings,

I didn`t know Heifetz had recorded the Beethoven sonatas with Toscanini and Munch?

Cheers,

Buri

March 24, 2008 at 03:39 AM · Forgive me, if I answer for you Buri (I've had a healthy dose of prunes lately):

Chris , I believe Buri was referring to the Beethoven sonatas; the recordings of Heifetz/Munch/Toscanini you mentioned would be the Beethoven violin concerto recordings and Buri did not write about those.

March 24, 2008 at 03:42 AM · Oh, I was too slow, Buri already responded- my delay from getting back home after seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time must account for that.

March 24, 2008 at 09:41 AM · Hello Ferras aficionados: 2 live recordings have just been published on the DOREMI label: Beethoven's triple concerto (w. Heidsieck and Tortelier) and Brahms'double (w.Starker), both recorded in Paris!!

March 24, 2008 at 08:06 PM · Then what does Buri think of Heifetz's beethoven sonatas?

March 24, 2008 at 10:48 PM · Greetings,

Buri acknowledges the amazinfg thought and artistry that went into them and doesn`t listen to them anymore.

Cheers,

Buri`s representative on v.commie

March 26, 2008 at 03:36 PM · I really enjoy his Beethoven concerto on an EMI import disc.

March 26, 2008 at 03:51 PM · His Beethoven with Karajan/Berlin (on DG) is one of the great recordings of that piece, IMHO.

(They did Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky & Sibelius together... not sure if they recorded anything else)

March 26, 2008 at 04:08 PM · I picked up a used LP of the Ferras/Karajan Beethoven concerto, and it is marvelous. Also, it was only $1.00!

I also have the EMI 5 CD set "Les Introuvables de Christian Ferras", which I enjoy very much. Highlights include both Faure sonatas with Pierre Barbizet.

I really like his style and sound. His playing is so personal, direct, and emotionally bare. Sometimes I find it uncomfortable to listen to him play, because his music is so exposed emotionally. His bow arm looks a little strange, but who cares. The results!

March 26, 2008 at 06:33 PM · I actually just realized I have that LP of Ferras, Anne and Bruce. I'll have to check that out, I've never heard it.

March 31, 2008 at 09:58 PM · My favorite Ferras is his marvellous recording of the philipine-spaniard Elizalde v.c., a lovely work that nobody ever plays (and has been recorded by any else?)

April 1, 2008 at 12:15 AM · Many cultures have built-in societal mores which cannot be trespassed upon of which suicide,is perhaps,most preponderant.

Because of Christian's infraction upon these standards,he will-sadly-remain sort of a 'backstage' violinist of the very finest interpretations,forever in the mind-set of critics,listeners and aficionados to the repitoire.

April 1, 2008 at 01:41 AM · Back in the 60s his recordings were commonly available on DGG and heard on radio sometimes. I loved his playing but then he dropped out of sight. In that era the "great ones" were Heifetz, Milstein, Stern, and Francescatti--they were the really famous ones, plus Szeryng and Grumiaux to maybe a lesser extent. His sad story only became known later on.

April 1, 2008 at 01:51 AM · "In that era the "great ones" were Heifetz, Milstein, Stern, and Francescatti-"

I'm pretty sure you could replace Stern with Oistrakh

April 1, 2008 at 04:33 AM · And Francescatti with Charles Aznavour.

April 1, 2008 at 04:35 AM · And Milstein with Big Bill Broonzy.

April 10, 2008 at 06:10 AM · Hello

I inform you that there is an association: Les amis de Christian Ferras. The site is in French but you can contact us on: www.associationferras.com click :

association / contact.

Best Regards

Philippe

April 18, 2008 at 06:36 AM · Hello,

We searching a translator Fran├žais / English for translate the CHRISTIAN FERRAS web site.

Are you this one ?

Please contact us by : www.associationferras.com

Click : Association and Contact us !

Thank you in advance. Sincerly Yours.

Best Regards

Philippe de Choudns

April 18, 2008 at 02:04 PM · M. de Choudens - I have sent you a private message.

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