Janine Jansen: Falling for Stradivari
UK Cinema Release from 2 September, including Curzon Mayfair, London
A fascinating film about the finest violin maker of all time, Antonio Stradivari told through the eyes and bow of Janine Jansen, one of the world’s truly exceptional violinists, as she embarks on a daunting quest to record an album on twelve of his greatest ever violins, a unique project devised by Steven Smith of the eminent violin dealers, J&A Beare.
The film delves into the histories of these unique instruments: some, in pristine condition, have not been played for 200 years while others belonged to legendary virtuosos including Fritz Kreisler, Nathan Milstein, Ida Haendel and Oscar Shumsky, all seen here in rare archive footage. Each violin has its own distinctive character which can take years to master but Janine has only days with all of them before beginning the gruelling process of recording with Sir Anthony Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera House accompanying on piano.
Janine Jansen: Falling for Stradivari brilliantly captures the emotional highs and lows as Jansen reacts to each violin, her excitement combined with trepidation as the first day of recording gets nearer. In an unexpected twist, Jansen fall ill with Covid but recovers to continue with the recording with only one day left before the first violin has to be returned to its owner.
Through this gripping and energetic film, audiences will gain both a deep understanding of what has made Stradivari such a unique and enduring artist whose violins now regularly command prices well above twenty million dollars, prized by collectors, players and audiences everywhere, and also witness the enormous humour, spark and energy that exists between these two formidable collaborative musicians.
Falling for Stradivari was produced in association with Sky Arts and will be broadcast on the channel on 23rd September. Decca Classics will release the album ’12 Stradivari’ on 10th September with Janine Jansen and Sir Antonio Pappano.
One of the most revelatory classical music films I have seen for years.
Richard Morrison, The Times
The best films of autumn 21
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian