In this video, French violinist Christian Ferras, performs the second movement of Brahms’s Violin Sonata no.3.

Ferras, who died by suicide in 1982 at the age of 49, featured in the ‘Great Violinists’ series in the December 2010 issue of The Strad, where Nathaniel Vallois wrote:

His ascent to fame had been a seamless transition from child prodigy to mature artist, and for most of the 1950s and 60s he was one of the world’s pre-eminent violinists. Yet as he reached this zenith an insidious dependency on alcohol gnawed at him.

Bouts of depression intensified and he became an increasingly fallible performer. He taught at the Paris Conservatoire from 1975, bit his last few years were a terrible struggle with his inner demons punctuated by occasional, short-lived comebacks.

Ferras was a formidable natural talent and a highly imaginative virtuoso. One of the joys of watching him play on film is observing his creative fingerings and bowings. His idiosyncratic bowing technique, with its exaggeratedly raised right elbow and wrist, and awkward finger positioning, worked wonders for him, but he would tell students not to do as he did.

The fascinating paradox of his art was its amalgamation of limpid elegance and fire, sensuousness and raw visceral force. For all their personalised fervour, his interpretations had integrity and were attuned to the composer’s spirit.