One of the ten best violinists of the 20th century is French, and his name is Christian Ferras. Born in 1933, Ferras made a brilliant international career dedicating himself to chamber music with the pianist Pierre Barbizet. It is with Pierre Barbizet that he gave his first recital just after being awarded the second prize in the Concours Long-Thibaud in 1949. The duo soon became inseparable and explored the sonata repertoire, namely all of Beethoven's sonatas of which they produced a recording in 1958 that was to leave its mark.
Famous all around the world, they play everywhere. The Sonata for violin and Piano in A Major by César Franck which we propose here, recorded in 1963 for French television, is one of their hits. Stamped with a moving tenderness, this version has an astounding purity of sound. The violinist is hypersensitive and the tones he obtains with his bow are extremely moving.
Although he dedicates much of his time to chamber music, Ferras also pursues his solo career which started in 1951 when he played with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Vienna under the direction of Karl Böhm. Then, in the middle of the sixties, he met with Herbert von Karajan. Together they recorded the greatest violin concertos of the repertoire – Beethoven's, Brahms' and Sibelius'. On this evening of 1967, accompanied by the Orchestra of the ORTF conducted by Jean Fournet in Stravinsky's Violin Concerto , we hear his intense, harrowing rendition of the two Arias, and his virtuoso performance in this extremely complex work.
In 1975, Christian Ferras stopped giving concerts. On August 25, 1982, he came back to give his last recital. Twenty days later he committed suicide.
Archives from the 1960s
New Philharmonia Orchestra - BBC Symphony Orchestra