From the years 1948 to 1969
Towards the future, Namur, January 1948
Concerto in G-minor by Max Bruch, conductor: René Barbier
… the audience enjoyed it greatly and applauded the hot romanticism,
feverish from the allegro moderato; the phrasing of the adagio, which soloist
Mr J. Laurent … caused to resonate from the depths of his soul with a moving
purity; and finally the lively, spirited finale to colourful, rhythms full
What beautiful, pure musical moments we have experienced this evening, in
the Salle Gaveau! … The clear playing, the lively bowing of Jean Laurent
harmonised perfectly with the intense fervour of Eugène Traey who truly "officiated"
at the piano without seeking to draw attention to his person. No-one could
have interpreted the mystic tones of Franck any better …
»Le soir« dated 10.2.1950
Jean Laurent-Eugène Traey
Jean Laurent – Eugène Traey
The cycle of Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano are continuing to attract
a very big audience. The third session was given by Jean Laurent, violinist
and Eugène Traey, pianist. We have on many occasions talked about these excellent
artists who form one of best duos in Belgium.
The two sonatas performed are among the most beautiful and they differ
a great deal from one another. They were Sonata no. 10
in G major, Opus 96 and no. 9 in A major Opus 47, dedicated to Kreutzer.
The instrumentalists were able to demonstrate the entire cadence and it
was outstanding. The earnest and spirituality, the intelligence and culture
of these artists are well known. Everything is well-reflected, finely tuned,
and yet their musicality remains absolutely natural. The nuances in the
magnificent Adagio in the
Sonata in G were expressive and the Scherzo light and merry.
The impression left by the famous Kreutzer Sonata was even better than
the previous one. It was appreciated as much for the accentuated
confidence, the passionate fugue as for the subtlety, the vivacity
and the animation. In short, all this was in good balance and with
appropriate feeling and understanding.
Conductor: Louis de Vocht
This “concerto for violin” was interpreted by M. Jean Laurent … It is well
known what a remarkable artist this violinist with the extremely certain
technique is. M. Laurent elicits a gentle, sweetly pure singing sound from
Nouvelle Gazette de Bruxelles, March 1951
Première of the concerto for violin by Jef Maes, conductor:
… The concerto by M. Jef Maes is … an excellent
score which it is desirable to hear again soon …
Here M. Laurent played M. Maes’ concerto with verve: total technical mastery,
impeccable precision, a warm sound and a sense of recreating the
ample architecture of each movement ...
Libre Belgique, 28.4.1956
This concert given by the violinist Jean Laurent and pianist Eugène Traey
was yet another new homage to Mozart...
There was perfect in the thinking, the comprehension and the emotionalism
of the artists who distinguished themselves by a delicately nuanced phrasing
… It was a rendition characterised by taste and style …
Allgemeine Zeitung of 14.4.1962
The Jean Laurent – Hellmut Hideghéti Duo
Virtuoso violinist Jean Laurent and pianist Hellmut Hideghéti gave a perfect
recital of the three sonatas for violin and piano by Johannes Brahms to a
respectable audience in the Mozart Hall. As an introduction to this delightful
evening the two artists played the Second Violin Sonata Opus 100. Written
in the light A Major key, it expresses a distinctly sunny mood. The antithetical
inner nature of the three themes in the first movement was presented in a
pleasing form. The characteristic singing and rhythmic style of the simple
theme of the Andante tranquillo was performed clearly and the wonderful crescendos
of the finale were rendered in unparalleled beauty.
The master’s first sonata, Opus 78 in G Major, formed the heart piece of
the concert. Rapturous and soft, this work is nevertheless without excessive
sentiment. And this interpretation was played ideally to the unmitigated
joy of those listening. The third sonata, Opus 108 in D Minor, formed the
transition to the realm of concert sonatas. The impact of this technically
ambitious work matches the great emotional suspense. The sonata unfolded
with congenial mastery before the thrilled audience.
Jean Laurent is a violinist of international stature who always produces
a melodious sound, clear intonation and virtuoso bowing. The rich
spectrum of touch of which the pianist, Hellmut Hideghéti, is capable puts
him absolutely on a par with his partner in terms of his charisma as an
artist. The audience was enraptured and rewarded them with sincere applause.
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2.4.1965 (Karl-Heinz Ruppel)
Sonatas for violin and piano
Jean Laurent and Hellmut Hidegheti at the University of Music and Performing
The powerful, spirited bowing and a feeling for vivid melodic definition
on the part of the violinist and the melodious, colourful, finely pitched
playing of the pianist characterised the evening recital given by the two
university professors Jean Laurent and Hellmut Hideghéti, who have already
frequently proved their ability to conduct a brilliant dialogue in their
chamber music partnership. At the well-attended concert in the concert hall
of their institute the two artists began with sonata by the Florentine, Francesco
Veracini, who was one of the greatest violin virtuosos in the first half
of the 18th century. He travelled all over Europe, leaving an oeuvre of 24
sonatas for his instrument.
Astonishingly, its main concern was not to perform
amazing musical feats but rather to emphasise the singing and the potential
substance of the sound of the violin – at least if one goes by the sonata
in A Major, which was heard this evening. It was good music to listen to,
founded as it is on steadfast Baroque terrain with regard to style and taste.
By contrast, Mozart’s E-flat Major sonata (KV 481) is far more ostentatious
and with a more individual profile. Following a pleasant, “social” Allegro
it plunges into the unfathomable depths of the soul in the truly extravagantly
modulating Adagio, then again in the finale, it treats the variations on
one of the themes that Alfred Einstein terms “shirt-sleeved”. Mozart alone
was capable of combining stages of intellectual development that lie so far
apart in a single (albeit great) sonata; it appeared that in this rendition
the differentiations in the characters of the three movements were somewhat
neglected. By contrast, the elegant, intimate appeal of a sonata by Jean
Françaix, akin to Chabrier, harmonious and based on Ravelian delicacies,
an unproblematic but – typically French – intellectually stimulating music
to play, was performed with excellent effect.
Prokoview’s second sonata in D, first performed in Moscow in 1946, provided
an effective close to the programme. Its thematic invention is almost a concertante
gesture, with generous contours and sonority, requiring brilliance and energy
on the part of the violinist. The rhythm and melody of the first movement
are reminiscent of a main theme from Prokoview's ballet "Romeo and Juliet"
that presents itself strikingly alla marcia; in the Scherzo his sense of the
grotesque - to which he owes a number of his best works from his “Western”
period, but which, after his return to the Soviet Union he described as being
of little importance for his creativity - returns again, much subdued. (Totalitarian
systems see grotesque art as a manifestation of a subversive mental attitude.
Shostakovich, who in his early works – remember his opera “The Nose”
– also showed a distinct aptitude for it, like Prokoview also bowed to this
point of view, as we know). Jean Laurent and Hellmut Hideghéti did full justice
to the pastos timbre as well as to the finer worth of the sonata which was
very favourable for the two artists, but a composition virtually unaffected
by the problems of genuine instrumental dialogue (which Debussy and Stravinsky
experienced as most difficult). The applause was abundant. K.H.R.
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 19./20.11.1966
The Laurent-Rusy Duo in the concert hall of the University of Music and Performing
Jean Laurent presented a distinguished rendering of three sonatas for which
any violinist will happily climb onto podiums and barricades, luxurious and
gilt-edged. Beethoven’s Spring Sonata, the ordeal by fire and water for the
sensitive lyrical tone, remained colourful and full of excitement in passages
where some aesthetes concerned only with melodiousness lose their grip on
them; namely in the long-winded and smooth diatonic Rondo finale.
sonata came across as just as tight, strictly formal and coquettish as
it is intended to be: an intelligent Capriccio, modern in movement and rhythm,
now only superficially related. This is generally known as Impressionism.
Brahms’ D Minor and the violinists’ Appassionata had to be affirmed by
Jean Laurent’s temperament, his brilliant impulses and his ability to build
up complex movements. There was not a single passage that was overtly lachrymose
[which would be even worse].
Jean Laurent, whose instrumental qualities (finely-dosed
vibrato) require no more words of praise, played in a detached manner and
with intelligent charm. He has an air of almost serene superiority, sophisticated
and playful at the same time.
Having Magda Rusy as your partner on the piano
must be a pleasure. She steers a course mid-way between accompaniment and
the independence of a soloist. She anticipates every Rubato by the violinist,
has an unerring sense of tempo and, what’s more, she pays attention that
her touch is expressive and full of resonance. The evening of supreme violin
and piano playing was, of course, appropriately extended by several encores.
An excursion through Munich’s concert halls
A musical trinity
… Since their debut the three artists of the Orlando Trio have played their
way to becoming a congenial musical trinity …
The first piece on the delightful programme was a Haydn Trio in C, which
proved that the sound of the spinet or piano at the end of the 18th century
was far less voluminous than today, which can make it fairly difficult
for modern-day pianist to cope with the finely defined strings if the
piano score is not played with the kind of delicate virtuosity that Magda
What makes Ravel’s music seem so exceptionally fresh is its intelligence
which, unlike sound and form never goes out of date. The Trio, played with
delicacy and verve, therefore sounds as if it were being performed for
the first time in spite of the fact that the language of this sound is
With Mendelssohn, too, it is the intellectual aspect
and an acute sense of art that lend a work like the C Minor Trio the magic
of imminence. Mendelssohn’s elfish spectre in the scherzo and the appassionato
finale, interpreted with devotion were unfailing guarantees for rousing
effects. Great jubilation and the Andante grazioso from the Brahms Trio
in C Minor as an encore.
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 18.3.1969
Arcadia of Chamber Music
Arcadia of Chamber Music.
The Orlando Trio plays Mozart in the Cuvilliés
Mozart piano trios take their place in an Arcadia
of chamber music. Even the minor shades display moderation and grace. For
its extremely heartily acclaimed concert at the Cuvilliés Theatre the Orlando
Trio had chosen the three most balanced works: the Trio in G Major (KV 496),
which still contains hints of the connection to Mozart’s sonatas for piano
and violin, the dramatic B flat Major Opus (KV 502) and the Piano Trio (KV
542) where the E Major shines through into the realms of "Cosi fan tutte".
The pianist Mozart
has made the piano the main actor and turned the nuanced scope of the piano
into the actual scenery. In this piano range, the fundamental scale of
Mozart’s expression, Magda Rusy played with skill and competence. Her fluent
playing never became purely mechanical. Staccato and legato proceeded with
the necessary chanting, graceful quality. The forte sounded like the upper
limit of the fundamental dynamics of the piano, light, unobtrusive, a playful
It speaks for the intelligent style of the Orlando Trio that the disciplined
pastel colouring was not dimmed by a heavy string sound, a hefty portamento
or any coquettish special extras. The violinist, Jean Laurent, treated
the melodic element with tender caution, intent on the fineness and intimacy
of playing together and the delicacy of the nuances of the violin.
In some places Mozart assigned the cello the
function of doubling the bass part. Viktor Weywara performed this function
with such restraint and yet with the intended sensitivity. The Arcadia of
music in its absolute form was prolonged by the encores.