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Having displayed early talent on both the violin and piano, Christian Tetzlaff eventually chose the violin as his first study, making his debut with the Beethoven Concerto and later studying at the Musikhochschule Lübeck with Uwe-Martin Haiberg and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music with Walter Levine. He began to develop an international reputation by the late 1980s, particularly with the Schoenberg Violin Concerto; appearances in Paris, Cologne, London and other major cities helped to define his position and his New York City recital debut in 1993 (a Bach, Ysaÿe, and Bartók programme) was highly praised by The New York Times. Tetzlaff now has more than thirty recordings in his discography, which includes later-twentieth-century music such as the Ligeti Concerto and the Ronnefeld selected here. He gave the premiere of Johannes Harneit’s Violin Concerto in 2000 and has worked with a number of notable musicians including Yo-Yo Ma, Christoph Eschenbach, Sabine Meyer, Heinrich Schiff and his sister, the cellist Tanja Tetzlaff.

Tetzlaff, who used to play the ‘ex-Cox Rothschild’ Stradivarius, now plays on a modern instrument by Peter Greiner which he prefers for its dark, rich tones comparable to those of top-pedigree antique violins.

Listening to Tetzlaff’s recordings corroborates his already well-cemented reputation. His 2005 Bach solo sonatas and partitas (here represented by his clean-toned D minor Partita with a very well-poised rendition of the gigantic Chaconne) and a lithe, translucent 2005 performance of Mozart’s K. 216 Concerto certainly deserve the critical acclaim they have received. Tetzlaff, who claims an interest in incorporating the fruits of historical performing practice research into his performances on modern instruments, produces vivid performances free from some of the more conspicuous mannerisms of modern mainstream performance style. In the Mozart in particular he uses a light vibrato and largely avoids the almost inevitable stridency of the modern steel E-string. More creditable still is the lively orchestral playing by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie under Tetzlaff’s direction, with good dance-like tempi. Conversely, there is great depth of tone in his 2003 Tchaikovsky Concerto, whilst Honegger’s Sonatina for Violin and Cello (2007) is a remarkably well-matched duo performance with Poltéra, full of appropriate exuberance and energy. Bartók’s Sonata No. 1 (2004) is a fine recording: whilst the second movement sounds tonally a little vague (with very soft, almost flautando bowing in the modern style), the finale in particular comes alive and the fast tempo results in a compelling performance—finer, perhaps, than Gidon Kremer’s authoritative reading.

© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Milsom (A–Z of String Players, Naxos 8.558081-84)

Role: Classical Artist 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
BACH, J.S.: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, BWV 1001-1006 (Tetzlaff) (2016) Ondine
BARTÓK, B.: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 (C. Tetzlaff, Finnish Radio Symphony, Lintu) Ondine
BEETHOVEN, L. van / SIBELIUS, J.: Violin Concertos (C. Tetzlaff, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Ticciati) Ondine
BEETHOVEN, L. van: Triple Concerto / Piano Concerto No. 3 (C. and T. Tetzlaff, Vogt, Royal Northern Sinfonia) Ondine
BRAHMS, J.: Piano Trios Nos. 1-3 (C. and T. Tetzlaff, Vogt) Ondine
Chamber Music
BRAHMS, J.: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-3 / Violin Sonata, "F-A-E": III. Scherzo (C. Tetzlaff, Vogt) Ondine
Chamber Music
DVOŘÁK, A.: Piano Trios Nos. 3 and 4 (C. and T. Tetzlaff, Vogt) Ondine
Chamber Music
DVOŘÁK, A.: Violin Concerto / Romance, Op. 11 / SUK, J.: Fantasy in G Minor, Op. 24 (C. Tetzlaff, Helsinki Philharmonic, Storgårds) Ondine
Orchestral, Concerto
MOZART, W.A.: Violin Sonatas Nos. 27, 32 and 35 (Tetzlaff, Vogt) Ondine
Chamber Music
RONNEFELD: Chamber Music Dacapo
Chamber Music
RONNEFELD: Miracles / Sextet / Sonatine Dacapo
Chamber Music, Vocal
SCHUMANN, R.: Violin Concerto / MENDELSSOHN, Felix: Violin Concerto (with Ondine 2019 Catalogue) (C. Tetzlaff, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, P. Järvi) Ondine
SCHUMANN, R.: Violin Concerto / Phantasie / MENDELSSOHN, Felix: Violin Concerto (Tetzlaff, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, P. Jarvi) Ondine
SCHUMANN, R.: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-3 (C. Tetzlaff, Vogt) Ondine
Chamber Music
SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 (Tetzlaff, Helsinki Philharmonic, Storgårds) Ondine
WIDMANN, J.: Violin Concerto / Antiphon / Insel der Sirenen (C. Tetzlaff, Swedish Radio Symphony, Harding) Ondine

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