Renaud Capuçon


Renaud Capuçon

Born in Chambéry in 1976, Renaud Capuçon has established himself as a soloist at the very highest level. He has played concerti with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic under Haitink and Robertson, the Boston Symphony under Dohnanyi, the Orchestre de Paris under Eschenbach and the Simon Bolivar Orchestra under Dudamel. He also appears regularly in solo recitals, most recently performing complete Beethoven violin sonata cycles worldwide.

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Mahler: Symphony No. 4 (arr. Stein)

Mahler: Symphony No. 4 (arr. Stein)


Symphony No. 4

Christiane Karg (soprano)

Strauss, J, II:

Schatz-Walzer, Op. 418

arranged by Anton Webern

Kaiser-Walzer, Op. 437

arranged by Arnold Schönberg

Renaud Capuçon (violin), Katja Lammermann (violin), Antoine Tamestit (viola), Clemens Hagen (cello), Alois Posch (double bass), Magali Mosnier (flute), Sebastian Manz (clarinet), Albrecht Mayer (oboe), Herbert Schuch (piano), Gereon Kleiner (harmonium), Leonhard Schmidinger (percussion), Martin Grubinger (percussion)

The fact that this rare gem was considered lost and was only brought back into the repertory in 1993 thanks to a great deal of effort is astounding (even more so considering the relative success it has enjoyed since that time); a chamber-music version of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony by the Schoenberg pupil Erwin Stein for his ‘society for private performances of music’. The work was reconstructed from Erwin Stein’s notes in his score of the original symphony and his correspondence with Schoenberg. A tonally pleasing piece in itself, it also gives valuable insight into the compositional structure of the original and provides a creative contribution towards imagining the relationship between two highly important composers. After all, while the circle around Schoenberg truly venerated Gustav Mahler, he in turn took an active and certainly respectful interest in the new paths that Schoenberg had embarked upon. This recording is a fitting contribution to the Mahler anniversary year of 2011, marking the centenary of his death! This is matched by two irresistible, slightly quirky, yet idiomatically highly suitable, distorted Strauss waltzes by Webern and Schoenberg as ‘the icing on the cake’. All played by an incomparable ‘all-star ensemble’ featuring Renaud Capuçon, Antoine Tamestit, Clemens Hagen, Magali Mosnier, Sebastian Manz, Albrecht Mayer, Herbert Schuch, Martin Grubinger among others! They are joined in the last movement of the Mahler symphony by Christiane Karg, singing of ‘heavenly joys’…

“Sensitivity to [context] is a distinguishing mark of all three performances…too many other recordings of Stein’s version succeed only in sounding like mini-Mahler. This dares to go further, to narrow the gap between the original and Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony” Gramophone Magazine, June 2017

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Glass: Violin Concerto No.1 & Bernstein: Serenade after Plato’s Symposium

Glass: Violin Concerto No.1 & Bernstein: Serenade after Plato’s Symposium


Serenade (after Plato's 'Symposium')

Glass, P:

Violin Concerto

Virtuoso Renaud Capuçon collaborates with Dennis Russell Davies and the esteemed Bruckner Orchester Linz in this new recording from Orange Mountain Music of violin concertos by two of the most popular composers of the 20th Century, Philip Glass and Leonard Bernstein.

Glass’s first violin concerto from 1987 is the composer’s most well-known work for the concert hall having been performed and recorded by violinists like Gidon Kremer and Robert McDuffie. Now thirty years after its composition it has become known as a new classic of our time.

The same can be said for Bernstein's luscious Serenade (after Plato's Symposium) for solo violin, strings, harp and percussion from 1954. A concerto in all but name, it has become one of Bernstein's best known and most loved works for the concert hall.

These two masterpieces are performed by world renowned violinist Renaud Capuçon teaming with the Bruckner Orchester Linz under the direction of Glass specialist Dennis Russell Davies.

“Violinist Renaud Capuçon’s brilliantly judged performance is highly responsive to the work’s musical and philosophical nuances and especially powerful in conveying the emotional intensity of the fourth movement [of the Bernstein]…[in the Glass] Capuçon’s violin soars high above a descending chaconne bass in the slow middle movement, creating a beautifully glowing sonic halo” Gramophone Magazine, May 2017

“Capuçon is wonderfully ethereal and pure in the slow movement [of the Glass]... [the Bernstein] offers Capuçon ideal opportunity to display his abundant gifts of precision and lyricism.” The Observer, 28th May 2017

“If the vision of Renaud Capuçon and Dennis Russell Davies is more sombre than that of Gidon Kremer (with Dohnanyi in Vienna, DG), that suits the quality of sound of the Bruckner Orchester Linz. The sound is more immediate, but at the same time the violin is more integrated into an ensemble whose sound is both broad and generous” Diapason, June 2017 *****

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Lalo, Bruch, Sarasate: Violin Concertos

Lalo, Bruch, Sarasate: Violin Concertos


Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26


Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21


Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20

Renaud Capuçon exudes a youthful air, but, now firmly established as one of the world’s leading violinists, he celebrates his 40th birthday on January 27th 2016. This release of the best-known works of three composers – Edouard Lalo, Pablo de Sarasate and Max Bruch – marks this important personal occasion in a suitably festive fashion. Capuçon made the recordings with Paavo Järvi and the Orchestre de Paris at the orchestra’s new home, the French capital’s Philharmonie, which opened in early 2015 and was immediately hailed for its superb acoustics. The Bruch concerto became the first piece to be recorded there, in May 2015.

As it happens, Capuçon shares a birthday with Edouard Lalo, born in 1823 – and with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart too! Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, first performed in Paris in 1874, inhabits the same Franco-Spanish musical world as Bizet’s Carmen, which received its premiere the following year. The piece also has a special connection with both Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen [Gypsy Airs] and Bruch’s Concerto No1, as Renaud Capuçon explains:

“These three works, first heard between 1868 and 1878, are among the most famous in the history of the violin, and there are links of friendship and respect between their three composers – Lalo, Sarasate and Bruch: Lalo dedicated his Symphonie espagnole to Sarasate [born in northern Spain and one of the most celebrated violinists of his time]. Bruch dedicated his Scottish Fantasy to Sarasate some years later, but it was the great Joseph Joachim who gave the first performance of Bruch’s Concerto No 1.”

All three pieces also have a special significance for Capuçon: “I first approached these works when I was 12 years old and studying at the Paris Conservatoire with Veda Reynolds [a celebrated American violin teacher]. I played the Bruch in my first competitions; the Lalo was the first piece I played to Gerard Poulet [Capuçon’s other teacher at the Paris Conservatoire] and the Sarasate featured in my first proper recital."

The personal nature of this album is further emphasised by Renaud Capuçon’s wish to dedicate it to the memories of two people who meant a great deal to him: the broadcaster Jacques Chancel, who died in December 2014, and his father-in-law Gratien Ferrari, who died in October 2015.

Capuçon’s credentials in this kind of Romantic music are made clear in reviews of past performances and recordings. When he played the Lalo in London in 2012, the Guardian praised him for capturing “the full measure of the seriousness behind its grace and wit. Capuçon played with virile agility and tremendous nobility of tone,” while The Times extolled a “gorgeous performance from violin soloist Renaud Capuçon, laidback in manner, but so nimble, so fiery.” The Bruch concerto – with its rhapsodic first movement and energetic, dancing finale is close in spirit to the Brahms Violin Concerto, composed in 1878 and also dedicated to Joseph Joachim. Capuçon’s recording of the Brahms was released in 2012. Reviewing the CD, the Telegraph wrote that: “Capuçon has an impressive grasp of the concerto’s expressive contours, using his technical arsenal with finesse and tracing the music’s breadth of line and its arching shapes while maintaining its inner momentum. The rhythmic punch and energy of the finale are echoed by the orchestra’s powerful attack and buoyancy ... This is altogether a remarkable disc.”

“Capuçon gives a committed reading, and isn't afraid to dig into the strings when it's apt. There's virtuosity in the faster movements and a real sense of the Spanish rhythmic character of the music…there's a similar engagement with idiom in the Sarasate…and Järvi and the orchestra provide eagle-eared support” BBC Music Magazine, May 2016 ****

“There are no rough edges in this take on Lalo's Symphonie espagnole…instead we have a performance full of charm and mischief that emphasises the work's optimism…Capuçon certainly doesn't lack flamboyance” Gramophone Magazine, March 2016

“[The Lalo] gets a by turns flamboyant and dreamy reading from Capuçon, whose keen tone and easy bravura recall the great Arthur Grumiaux’s famous recordings. If the Bruch concerto is a less obvious bedfellow, Jarvi and his orchestra accompany the soloist expansively” Sunday Times, 17th January 2016

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Saint-Saëns: La Muse et le Poète

Saint-Saëns: La Muse et le Poète


Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61

Renaud Capuçon (violin)

La Muse et le Poète, Op. 132

Renaud Capuçon (violin) & Gautier Capuçon (cello)

Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33

Gautier Capuçon (cello)

Violinist Renaud Capuçon and his cellist brother Gautier are joined by the young French conductor Lionel Bringuier and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France for a programme of works by Camille Saint-Saëns. It includes the lyrical, intimate and rarely heard ‘Duet for Violin, Cello and Orchestra’, La Muse et le Poète.

For this recording of three concertante works by Saint-Saëns they are joined by another leading French musician of the younger generation, the conductor Lionel Bringuier, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Though only 27, Bringuier will become Chief Conductor and Music Director of Zurich’s much-respected Tonhalle Orchestra in 2014. He recently completed six seasons as Resident Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he worked with music directors Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel. It was as a 14-year-old student that he first got to know Renaud Capuçon and this Saint-Saëns disc first began to take shape three or so years ago.

Recorded in Paris at the Salle Pleyel and the Théâtre du Châtelet, it comprises Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No 3, Cello Concerto No 1 and ‘Duet for Violin, Cello and Orchestra’, La Muse et le Poète – a work that the Capuçon brothers had never played before and which is only rarely heard.

“These two concertos might be among his more familiar works, but these sensitively imagined performances make for essential listening.” The Telegraph, 17th October 2013 *****

“The music [of La Muse] is fluent and pleasant without being memorable...The Capuçons certainly do their best to make the music worthwhile...Renaud gives a performance of the third violin concerto that is full of ripely expressive effects; Gautier's version of the cello work plunges in with almost breathless intensity” The Guardian, 24th October 2013

“In the Violin Concerto, Renaud Capucon and the conductor provide a lesson in how to generate rubato organically from the material...the soloist's tone and technique deserve the highest praise...The recording is clear and spacious.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas Issue 2013 ****

“They are all evidently fine musicians and cannot be faulted in matters of taste and technique...This is a fine disc neatly combining a rarity with first class performances of two deservedly acclaimed concertos.” MusicWeb International, 16th December 2013

“Renaud and Gautier Capucon's beautifully modulated complemented by the discreet colouring, finesse, warmth and dramatic cohesion that Lionel Bringuier draws from the [orchestra]...the freshness, passion and poignancy of the playing are compellingly revivifying.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2014

“A disc of Saint-Saëns's best-known concertos, with soloist Renaud Capuçon on commanding form in the Violin Concerto No. 3, and his younger brother Gautier doing the honours in the Cello Concerto No. 1. The two siblings come together for a hauntingly expressive performance of La Muse et le Poète, all of which are ably supported by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, conducted by Lionel Bringuier.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical

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GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2014

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Beethoven & Korngold - Violin Concertos

Beethoven & Korngold - Violin Concertos


Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61


Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35

“Renaud Capuçon is one of today's outstanding violinists – less flashy than some, but a fabulously musical player who is as remarkable a chamber player as he is a concerto soloist,” wrote The Guardian in its review of the French violinist’s recent Virgin Classics CD of Mozart concertos, describing the disc as “a fine achievement”, while the Scottish newspaper The Sunday Herald felt that: “Capuçon's silvery tone and expressive phrasing of the slow movements … beautifully balance his brisk and exhilarating takes on the allegros and prestos….Don’t miss this one.” The BBC Music website pointed out that “Capuçon's style, perhaps because of his regular chamber work, is natural, understated and perceptive; the sound of a musician happily relaxed in his skin and not feeling the need to prove any virtuosic credentials. His performance here is lithe, graceful and refined, capturing vivacious humour with luminous upper-stringed sparkle, and colouring the slower movements with warm, musical poetry.”

Capuçon’s Virgin Classics discography is substantial, but much of the focus has been on chamber music – only two previous discs have featured him in solo concertos. Now he takes on two highly constrasting works: Beethoven’s sublime concerto, a touchstone of any major violinist’s repertoire, and Korngold’s gorgeous work, written in 1945 for one legendary violinist, Bronislaw Huberman, but premiered in 1947 by another, Jascha Heifetz. Korngold, once known primarily for his spectacular film scores, has in recent years achieved a significant presence in opera houses and concert halls – notably with his early opera Die tote Stadt and with this concerto, which in fact draws on material that the composer originally produced for Hollywood movies, Another Dawn (1937), Juárez (1939), Anthony Adverse (1939) and The Prince and the Pauper (1937).

Conducting the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra is its Music Director, the thrilling young Canadian Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who took up his post in 2008 and who is also Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra – an appointment which led to an award from the Royal Philharmonic Society in May 2009.

“Renaud Capuçon approaches the Beethoven Concerto very much like the great virtuosos of the past through emphasising the work's lyrical and expressive qualities. …Capuçon is at pains to generate a real sense of forward momentum in the first movement of the Korngold. The opening melody is phrased with great warmth and tenderness... Capuçon and Znaider sounding magical in the Romance and exuberant in the finale.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2010 ****

“His sweetly mellifluous reading of the [Beethoven] concerto captures its tranquil, smooth polish, the double-stopped cadenzas are silky smooth...Capucon’s reading [of the Korngold] embraces its filmic lushness, but the sweetly refined elegance stays, as does the unshowy treatment of the technical googlies. Altogether, an elegantly feel-good disc.” Charlotte Gardner,, 15th October 2009

“From the first few bars of the Beethoven concerto, the mood of Renaud Capuçon's performance is set. Yannick Nézet-Séguin nudges the music into life, without any fierce attacks or exaggerated dynamics...Capuçon's perfect intonation and exquisite phrasing are exactly what [the Korngold] requires” The Guardian, 16th October 2009 ***

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Brahms: Double Concerto & Clarinet Quintet

Brahms: Double Concerto & Clarinet Quintet


Double Concerto for Violin & Cello in A minor, Op. 102

Renaud Capuçon (violin) & Gautier Capuçon (cello)

Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, Myung-Whun Chung

Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115

Paul Meyer (clarinet), Renaud Capuçon (violin), Aki Saulière (violin), Gautier Capuçon (cello) & Béatrice Muthelet (viola)

“The stellar young Capuçon brothers seem incapable of setting a foot wrong on disc and they put their considerable chamber-music experience to great use in Brahms's final orchestral work, with cellist Gautier Capuçon proving an eloquent lead in the vehement first movement.
The other striking aspect about this performance is the sheer range of colour, not only from the soloists but also from the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, who play their hearts out for Myung-Whun Chung in this most symphonic of concertos. If Oistrakh and Fournier are still irresistible in the slow movement, offering a perfect balance of melodic lines that are lovingly cherished but never saccharine, the Capuçons are still very impressive, and their finale is full of vitality, making much of the folk-tinged inflections and achieving a seemingly telepathic unanimity in their shared passages.
For a change from the usual concerto companion we get Brahms's Clarinet Quintet, written in 1891, four years after the Double Concerto. In this coupling it's easy to hear the Quintet's famous autumnal quality prefigured in the outer sections of the concerto's Andante.
Paul Meyer is an ideal protagonist, producing a wide array of mellow shadings in the opening movement, yet never underplaying the more agitated passages within the piece, notably the Presto of the third movement. The quartet are minutely responsive to Meyer's every move and even seasoned Brahms aficionados will find new detail to relish in both the performances here.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Here is a Double Concerto to listen to again and again. Not least because it is rather unusual. The Capuçon brothers are accomplished chamber musicians and they often dig into this music as though in a chamber concert, taking time to explore, passing ideas between themselves. It doesn’t displace the recent Fischer/Müller-Schott, but sits alongside” James Inverne, Gramophone Magazine

“…here's a very fine reading of Brahm's Double Concerto from the stellar young Capuçon brothers. The other striking aspect about this performance is the sheer range of colour, not only from the soloists but also from the Mahler Youth Orchestra, who play their hearts out for Myung-Whun Chung in this most symphonic of concertos.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2008

“Gautier Capuçon launches into the opening cello solo with a rhapsodic freedom and expressive abandon that seems to sweep all before it. The performance is outstanding” The Guardian

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2008

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Schubert - Piano Trios Nos. 1 & 2

Schubert - Piano Trios Nos. 1 & 2


Piano Trio movement in B flat major, D28

Notturno in E flat major for piano trio, D897 (Op. post.148)

Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat major, D898

Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major, D929

“There are performances that give intense pleasure, and performances that make you think. And, just occasionally, you encounter one that does both. The Braley-Capuçon-Capuçon Schubert First Trio is one of those. The playing is superb from just every angle you consider it: beguiling tone, lovely intelligent phrasing, strong but flexible rhythmic articulation, precise pitch and alert ensemble.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2007 *****

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1. Pierre (Prelude)

2. Cet Enfant-la

3. Septembre

4. Mes hommes

5. Du bout des levres

6. Vivant poeme

7. Pierre

8. A mourir pour mourir

9. Y'aura du monde

10. La-bas

11. C'est trop tard

12. Au bois de Saint-Amand

13. Vienne

14. Say, when will you return? (Dis, quand reviendras tu ?)

15. Les amis de Monsieur

16. Attendez que ma joie revienne

17. Pierre (postlude)

Disc: 2

1. Ô mes theatres

2. Valse de Frantz

3. Nantes

4. Ce Matin-la

5. Le Bel age

6. Plus rien

7. Remusat

8. J'ai tue l'amour

9. Ma plus belle histoire d'amour

Alexandre Tharaud (piano), with Juliette Binoche, Vanessa Paradis, Jane Birkin, Radio Elvis, Bénabar, Juliette, Dominique A, Tim Dup, Jean-Louis Aubert, Albin de la Simone, Camélia Jordana, Rokia Traoré, Hindi Zahra, Luz Casal, Guillaume Gallienne, Renaud Capuçon, Michel Porta, Modigliani string quartet

For this double album, pianist Alexandre Tharaud invited a spectacular array of guest performers to join him in paying tribute to the singer-songwriter Barbara, who died 20 years ago, in November 1997. She shares a place of honour in French song with two other ‘B’s’, Jacques Brel and Georges Brassens. Among the featured artists are three world-famous actress-singers Juliette Binoche, Vanessa Paradis and Jane Birkin.

It is 20 years since Barbara died, aged 67, on November 24th 1997. Alexandre Tharaud’s idea for this album dates back to the day of her funeral. He, like many other fans, went to the cemetery in Bagneux on the outskirts of Paris. After the crowds and TV cameras had departed, a group of devotees remained at her grave and joined in an impromptu rendition of her songs. “I realised then that Barbara would live on through our voices,” says Tharaud. “I was young, but the recording studio was already central to my life. That morning, at Bagneux Cemetery, I vowed to make an album dedicated entirely to the music of Barbara. I needed time, and singers … The guests on this album are not those anonymous mourners, but dear friends I have invited to lend their own unique voices to this tribute.”

For Barbara, Tharaud has assembled a rich and imaginative line-up of performers from a variety of generations and diverse artistic and cultural backgrounds. While there is inevitably a Gallic bias among them, many of their names are well known around the globe. Among them are: actress-singers Juliette Binoche, Vanessa Paradis and Jane Birkin; rock star Radio Elvis; singer-songwriters Bénabar, Juliette, Dominique A, Tim Dup, Jean-Louis Aubert and Albin de la Simone; singers Camélia Jordana, Rokia Traoré, Hindi Zahra and Luz Casal; actor-director Guillaume Gallienne; Erato violinist Renaud Capuçon, clarinettist Michel Portal and the Modigliani string quartet. Alexandre Tharaud himself plays on nearly all the tracks – not just piano, but also electronic organ and keyboards, celesta and bells.

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Brahms: String Sextets Nos. 1 & 2

Brahms: String Sextets Nos. 1 & 2

Live from Aix Easter Festival 2016


String Sextet No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 18

String Sextet No. 2 in G major, Op. 36

Renaud Capuçon, Christoph Koncz (violins), Gérard Caussé, Marie Chilemme (violas) & Gautier Capuçon, Clemens Hagen (cellos)

For the first time since their recording of Saint-Saëns La Muse et le Poète in 2013, the French brothers reunite for a recording of two of the great pillars of Romantic chamber music – Brahms’ string sextets. At the peak of the musical powers, they both appear regularly throughout the world on all the major concert hall platforms. Alongside their solo careers, performing chamber music with friends has always been an important part of their lives, and here they are joined by Austrian violinist Christoph Koncz, French violists Marie Chilemme and Gérard Caussé, and Austrian cellist Clemens Hagen. The album was recorded live at the Aix Easter Festival 2016.

The sextets are amongst the most joyful and skilfully-written works of the Romantic chamber music canon. While his own voice as a composer can clearly be heard, outside influences from the great Classical era composers such as Schubert and Beethoven are also in evidence.

The second sextet was written around the time Brahms became close to a young singer called Agathe von Siebold, so close in fact that many of their acquaintances thought they would eventually marry. Brahms however refused to be tied down and Agathe broke off the relationship. Near the end of the exposition of the first movement, the first and second violins together spell "Agathe" by playing the notes A-G-A-D-H-E, leading many to deem this work as dedicated to her. After completing the work Brahms wrote to a friend, "Here I have freed myself from my last love."

“It’s been some years since we’ve had a disc of Brahms’s sextets as thoroughly satisfying as this one...The Capuçon brothers and their colleagues may be an ad hoc group but they play with the unanimity and blended tone of a veteran ensemble...Best of all, the musicians find a near-ideal balance of urgency and patience – the hallmark of a great Brahms interpretation.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2017

“Theirs is music-making of rare intimacy and shared enjoyment - one has the sense of listening in on six musicians at the top of their game, playing as they might in a cosy domestic setting.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2017

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Brahms: Violin Concerto - Vinyl Edition

Brahms: Violin Concerto - Vinyl Edition


Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77

Recording: ORF RadioKulturhaus, Vienna, Austria, 19,21,22.XII.2011

Renaud Capuçon, the leading French violinist of his generation, joins the British conductor Daniel Harding and the august Wiener Philharmoniker for a landmark concerto of the German repertoire. The expansive Brahms concerto, first performed in 1878 by Joseph Joachim, is a peak of the composer’s glowingly warm Romanticism.

Capuçon has pronounced Brahms one of his favourite composers, “for his serenity and the sense of resurrection that he conveys”.

This recording was originally released in CD in 2012 coupled with the Berg Violin Concerto.

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