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December 04, 2005



That's quite an interesting and convincing endorsement of Jansen (and I enjoyed reading it). I haven't heard her yet, either on disc or live, and must admit to a certain amount of knee-jerk skepticism based on the photographs (as in: ho hum, another attractive violinist; and there seem to be many now, including Baiba Skride, Lisa Batiashvili, Julia Fischer). I don't think I would have ventured towards her Four Seasons, but your post now makes me want to hear it. Many thanks. One thing that came to mind, though, while reading your post is something I've always been curious about: given the spate of photogenic musicians, how many musicians are there who are equally talented but who don't get recording contracts because they're not quite photogenic enough? That's something I've often wondered.

Vanessa Lann

As an American composer living in The Netherlands, I can fully vouch for the exceptional talent of Janine Jansen, as well as for the fact that people here tend not to be as put off by a cd cover with a sexual/beautiful photo as they are in the USA. Interesting discussion point. Do I possibly remember an Alex Ross NYT article from 8 or 9 years ago on this matter? One of my piano solo works appeared in '94 on a cd with a cover featuring a nude photo of the extraordinary pianist, Tomoko Mukaiyama (who performed on the cd). It raised no eyebrows at all in Europe, many in the USA... The cd with the 24 violin caprices is available on www.barnesandnoble.com and contains performances by Janine Jansen, Joris van Rijn and Benjamin Schmid, all of whom are excellent (Schmid performs my own work). Thanks for your great blog, by the way.

John Beck

You'll be able to hear Janine in quite a different forum November 3 and 5th, 2006, at Carnegie's Zankel Hall with Spectrum Concerts Berlin - that city's stellar chamber music group. And if you've heard enough Four Seasons, the programs are:
Helps Nocturne for String Quartet
Brahms Clarinet Quintet
Schönberg Verklärte Nacht
Penderecki Clarinet Quartet
Schulhoff String Sextet
Schubert String Quintet in C Major.

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