Equal: Beethoven - Violin Concerto; Schumann - Fantasia; Francaix - Nonetto | RCA - Red Seal 88985317172

Equal: Beethoven - Violin Concerto; Schumann - Fantasia; Francaix - Nonetto

Label: RCA - Red Seal

Cat No: 88985317172

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 6th May 2016



A singular combination of Beethoven’s only Violin Concerto (most recently recorded for Sony by Lisa Batiashvili in 2007) with Schumann’s Fantasy for Violin & Orchestra, op.131. The Fantasy was lauded at its premiere but today it is rarely seen on concert programs. In a letter dated 2 June 1853 and accompanied by a score of Beethoven's Violin Concerto – the link to our recording – Joachim requested Schumann to write a Fantasy for the violin. A few months later in September, within a few short days, Schumann had sketched the Fantasy and sent it to Joachim for review. Joachim performed the Fantasy at Schumann’s home on 28 September 28 and premiered it in Düsseldorf on 27 October with the orchestra under the baton of Schumann himself. The following year, on 21 January, Joachim performed the Fantasy again. On the same programme, Schumann’s wife Clara also performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto in E flat major. It would be the last time Schumann heard both of them perform.

French composer Jean Françaix (1912-1997) has been an admirer of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s genius. He arranged Mozart’s Quintet K452 for four woodwind instruments and piano for oboe, horn, clarinet, bassoon and string quintet. This particular version allows all the soloists from CHAARTS to showcase their individuals skills.

With his sensitive and expressive playing, 27-year-old Swiss violinist Sebastian Bohren ranks among the most promising talents of his generation. The musician has given solo performances in the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Munich Residenz, the Tonhalle Zurich and the KKL Lucerne. He has played with orchestras such as the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Zürich, Chamber Aartists, Lucerne Chamber Orchestra, and the St Petersburg State Orchestra. Sebastian Bohren plays a Stradivarius (King George 1710) generously lent to him by the Habisreutinger Foundation.

CHAARTS is an ensemble of excellent chamber musicians and the best principal musicians from renowned Swiss orchestras such as the Tonhalle Orchestra, the Sinfonieorchester Basel and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. CHAARTS perform mainly without conductor, which means that every musician has to be extremely attentive and concentrated when he interacts with the other musicians or with soloists. The result are extraordinary interpretations – both exciting and discreet.


Youth to the fore here, with the stylish Sebastian Bohren giving a silky account of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, accompanied by the conductorless Chaarts Chamber Artists, founded by former members of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in 2010 and since embellished by instrumentalists from leading orchestras and chamber ensembles. Their deliciously forthright reading of the Beethoven makes the Schumann Phantasie for violin and orchestra in C Major feel a bit thin in comparison, but Bohren and the players sparkle in Jean Jean Françaix’s Nonetto from 1995, an arrangement of Mozart’s E flat major quintet, K452. Stephen Pritchard


The Observer 22 May 2016

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