Siblings inject joy into Brahms and virtuosity into Viotti
The Strad Issue: December 2023
Description: Siblings inject joy into Brahms and virtuosity into Viotti
Musicians: Christian Tetzlaff (violin) Tanja Tetzlaff (cello) Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Paavo Järvi
Works: Brahms: Double Concerto. Dvořák: Silent Woods. Viotti: Violin Concerto no. 22
Catalogue number: ONDINE ODE1423-2
The Tetzlaff siblings violinist Christian and cellist Tanja have a track record of playing chamber music together, and probably played the Brahms Double Concerto at home for fun when they were children. It would account for the great empathy in their playing here, the ease of interplay and the sense of intimate communication. The first movement has expressive freedom and space and, dare I say it, a touch of fun. There is heft and grandeur certainly, but this is not the mighty, frowning Brahms. In the F major section of the second movement their phrasing is pliant, its rubato natural and expressive. In the opening of the finale they are delicate and dancing, and they hocket splendidly in their later dialogues.
The Strad Podcast #96: Christian Tetzlaff on Bartók Violin Concerto no.2
Brahms had a great regard for Viotti’s A minor Violin Concerto, which he quotes directly in the Double Concerto. It doesn’t get out much nowadays, and is probably best known by college violin students, but in Christian Tetzlaff’s performance you can hear what commended it to Brahms. It is easy to regard this primarily as a showpiece, but he makes light of its technical challenges, the flashy passagework and the gymnastic string-crossing, showing it to be full of elegance and charm. He dashes off the Agitato assai finale with virtuoso aplomb. Tanja Tetzlaff rounds off the disc with Dvořák’s Silent Woods, bringing to it a soulful lyricism. The recording is warm and clear.