Gautier Capuçon

Cello

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Beethoven: Cello Sonatas & Variations

Beethoven: Cello Sonatas & Variations


Beethoven:

Cello Sonatas Nos. 1-5 (complete)

Variations (12) on "See the conquering hero comes" for Cello and Piano, WoO 45

Variations (7) on "Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen", for Cello and Piano, WoO 46

Variations (12) on "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen" for Cello and Piano, Op. 66


Gautier Capuçon (cello) & Frank Braley (piano)

Following on from last year’s live recording of the Shostakovich cello concertos, this album sees Gautier return to the studio with his friend and recital partner of many years, Frank Braley, in a programme of Beethoven’s Sonatas for Cello and Piano. In addition the album includes Beethoven’s wonderful variations on three different themes – two on arias from Mozart’s opera Die Zauberflöte, and the other from Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus. This is the first new recording of the complete Beethoven cello works for some time and is a long-awaited release.

Gautier Capuçon has a firm reputation as a concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. He is a regular performer with the Berlin Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony, NHK Symphony, and at festivals such as Verbier and Lugano, and has won several awards at the ECHOS and the Victoires de la Musique.

“Gautier Capuçon and Frank Braley deliver well-honed interpretations of these masterworks, offering perfect unanimity of ensemble and admirable clarity of texture throughout. The duo is at its best in the three sets of Variations where they manage to encapsulate a wide range of contrasting moods and timbres to impressive effect” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 ***

“With Beethoven there’s always room for one more interpretation, and the quality of this new set is not in doubt…such is the quality of the musicianship that there are always plenty of fresh insights…the partnership is one of Classical balance, and the result is by turns poised, polished, intimate and exuberant…undeniably a class act” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

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Schubert: String Quintet & Lieder

Schubert: String Quintet & Lieder


Schubert:

String Quintet in C major, D956

Gautier Capuçon (cello)

Die Gotter Griechenlands D677 (Schiller)

arranged for string quartet and double bass

Matthias Goerne (baritone) & Laurene Durantel (double-bass)

Der Tod und das Mädchen, D531

arranged for string quartet and double bass

Matthias Goerne (baritone) & Laurene Durantel (double-bass)

Der Jungling und der Tod, D545 (Spaun)

arranged for string quartet and double bass

Matthias Goerne (baritone) & Laurene Durantel (double-bass)

Atys D585

arranged for string quartet and double bass

Matthias Goerne (baritone) & Laurene Durantel (double-bass)

Der liebliche Stern, D861 (Schulze)

arranged for string quartet and double bass

Matthias Goerne (baritone) & Laurene Durantel (double-bass)


In 2014 Erato released Schubert’s glorious ‘Trout’ Quintet, recorded live at Paris’s Salle Pleyel by members of Quatuor Ebène with nonagerian pianist Menahem Pressler. The French quartet – with a new viola-player, 24-year-old Adrien Boisseau and a distinguished guest cellist, Gautier Capuçon – now turns to another Schubert quintet, his final chamber work and one of his sublime masterpieces: the Quintet for two violins, viola and two cellos in C major D956, often known simply as the Schubert Quintet. Its slow movement in particular, in which time seems to stands still, is a favourite with music-lovers.

In a characteristically imaginative move, Quatuor Ebène has complemented this substantial work, which lasts nearly an hour, with five of the 600 or so songs that Schubert composed during his lifetime. Replacing the customary piano accompaniments are sensitive new arrangements for string quartet and double bass (Laurène Durante), made by the Ebène’s cellist, Raphaël Merlin, while the singer is the German baritone Matthias Goerne. Established as one of the world’s greatest interpreters of lieder, he has a timbre that, in the words of Gramophone, is notable for its “distinctive mellow roundness … at once deep and soft-grained”. Goerne has said that: “There are no limits to Schubert. He is limitlessly deep – whether you are interpreting him or listening to him. He reveals all the facets, desires, fears and flaws of a human being.” The five songs on this CD – ‘Die Götter Griechenlands’, ‘Der Tod und das Mädchen‘, ‘Der Jüngling und der Tod‘, ‘Atys‘ and ‘Der liebliche Stern‘ – all deal with themes of death or nostalgia, while also demonstrating Schubert’s extraordinary expressive scope.

The Ebène’s recording of the ‘Trout’ Quintet with Menahem Pressler was greeted enthusiastically by Gramophone – “[It] radiates such communicative spirit and pure delight in making music together”, while the UK’s Observer newspaper, writing shortly before Christmas 2014, said: “This is the present for any chamber music lover – if you can bear to give it away.” The new programme of the String Quintet and songs was presented in October 2015 at the prestigious annual festival in Austria which takes its name from the musical evenings the composer used to enjoy with his friends: Schubertiade. As the Austrian magazine KULTUR-Zeitschrift wrote: “The general standard of the concerts at the Schubertiade is very high, but there will always be one chamber music event that stands out – and in this case it involved the French Quatuor Ebène, the baritone Matthias Goerne, the double bassist Laurène Durantel and the cellist Nicolas Altstaedt [rather than Gautier Capuçon, who appears on the CD]. Musical communication …, tonal flexibility and great emotional breadth are the trademarks of Quatuor Ebène … The arrangements of well-known Schubert lieder offered a wealth of discoveries for the listener. Raphaël Merlin has arranged the piano parts [of the songs] with great dedication; the use of strings gave the songs a new and readily accessible character … as each took on the characteristics of a scena, an aria or a mini-drama. … The players and Matthias Goerne collaborated superbly. The baritone took centre stage and brought each song to life with distinctive expression ... full of nuance in every register … fusing lyricism and drama …The interpretation of Schubert’s C major Quintet fully captured its essence … The themes rang out in their many forms in the opening movement; after the finely spun Adagio the Scherzo burst with percussive energy, and once the players had rounded off the final movement there was a storm of applause from the audience.”

“The Quatuor Ebène, who together with the remarkable cellist Gautier Capuçon perform the C major String Quintet, stands out, even in a golden age of string quartets…and since Capuçon integrates himself with them with none of the strain that star cellists often show, the result is as impressive as one might hope” BBC Music Magazine, June 2016 ****

“For a start, the Ebène Quartet quite clearly think deeply about every note, every texture, every gesture – as they have demonstrated in the past...The lower instruments are the engine room of the Quintet, and this performance demonstrates that as finely as any...The detailing, too, is remarkable.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2016

“Enriched by the extra cello of Gautier Capuçon, this performance is noteworthy for its sheer richness and variety of colour...With detailed, upfront sound enhancing the playing, this disc is sure to gain a footing on this year’s awards lists.” The Strad, 2016

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

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Shostakovich: Cello Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Shostakovich: Cello Concertos Nos. 1 & 2


Shostakovich:

Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 107

Cello Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 126


“Capuçon and Gergiev deliver some grand and glorious moments” wrote Gramophone when the French cellist Gautier Capuçon and the Russian conductor Valery Gergiev last collaborated on a disc of Russian music for Erato – works by Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky, released in 2010. The Daily Telegraph found that: “Capuçon [plays] with a blend of impeccable taste, Romantic ardour and technical aplomb ... Whether quizzical, rapturous, pensive or demonstrative, Capuçon has full measure of [the music] here in a performance of impressive stature.”

Now, the two musicians -- whose collaboration, again in Gramophone’s words, “was bound to strike sparks” – have come together for two live recordings, made in December 2013 at Paris’s Salle Pleyel and June 2014 at St. Petersbourg’s Mariinsky Thetre with the Mariinsky Orchestra. The works in question are Dmitri Shostakovich’s cello concertos Nos 1 and 2, both of which were written for Mstislav Rostropovich. The first was composed in 1959 (a year after the Central Committee of the Communist Party admitted that in 1948 there had been unjust condemnation of Shostakovich and other composers as ‘Formalist’), the second in 1966. The two concertos are different in spirit and shape: the first is often assertive and energetic, and features a huge cadenza for the cello that is almost a movement in its own right, while the second is introspective and enigmatic.

When Capuçon played the Concerto No.1 in New York in early 2014, the New York Times said: “Mr Capuçon played the work beautifully, negotiating its difficulties with seeming ease ... his elegance paid dividends ..., especially in the meditative Moderato and the brooding opening of the cadenza.” When he took the piece to Montreal, also in early 2014, the news website Pieuvre.ca reported that “[his] sensitive, virtuosic interpretation was rewarded with a long ovation.”

“Gautier Capucon is too consummate a musician to opt for pale imitations. Working hand in glove with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra, he delivers passionate and rhythmically incisive accounts…[there is] much to admire here, particularly in the way both soloist and orchestra ratchet up the emotional temperature throughout the course of the second movement [of the Second Concerto]” BBC Music Magazine, December 2015

“Gautier Capucon immediately shows that his are interpretations to be reckoned with. His account of the first movement of the First Concerto brings to bear an exceptional variety of articulation where lesser players storm through regardless.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2015

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Verbier Festival – Best of 2014

Verbier Festival – Best of 2014


includes:

Beethoven:

Fidelio Overture Op. 72c

Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, Marc Minkowski

Abscheulicher! Wo eilst du hin? (from Fidelio)

Ingela Brimberg (Leonore)

Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, Marc Minkowski

Berlioz:

La Damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Rákóczi March

Verbier Festival Orchestra, Charles Dutoit

La Damnation de Faust, Op. 24: Merci, doux crépuscule!

Charles Castronovo (Faust)

Verbier Festival Orchestra, Charles Dutoit

Chopin:

Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op. 60

Sergei Babayan (piano)

Grieg:

Lyric Pieces Op. 12: No. 1 - Arietta

Jan Lisiecki (piano)

Lyric Pieces Op. 71: No. 3 - Puck

Jan Lisiecki (piano)

Nesbit:

To Dance On Sands for 8 cellos

commissioned by the Verbier Festival

Adrian Brendel, Gautier Capuçon, Lionel Cottet, Amanda Forsyth, Clemens Hagen, Mischa Maisky, Istvan Várdai, Kyril Zlotnikov (cellos)

Pärt:

Für Alina

Sergei Babayan (piano)

Scriabin:

Piano Sonata No. 2 in G sharp minor, Op. 19 'Sonata Fantasy'

Evgeny Kissin (piano)

Étude Op. 8 No. 2 in F sharp minor

Evgeny Kissin (piano)

Étude Op. 8 No. 11 in B flat minor

Evgeny Kissin (piano)

Étude Op. 8 No. 12 in D sharp minor

Evgeny Kissin (piano)

Shchedrin:

Moscow-Petushki Dramatic Fragment for Orchestra

commissioned by the Verbier Festival

Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, Gábor Takács-Nagy

Tchaikovsky:

Theme & Variations (No. 6 from Morceaux (6), Op. 19)

Daniil Trifonov (piano)

Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23: Allegro con fuoco

Martha Argerich (piano)

Verbier Festival Orchestra, Charles Dutoit


Erato presents one of Europe’s most celebrated classical events – the annual Verbier Festival – releasing an official album for the first time, presenting highlights from the thrilling 2014 concerts.

Since 1994, the high-profile, high-altitude festival in the Swiss Alps has been a breath of fresh air for musicians and audiences alike, each year attracting a who’s who of classical music without losing the intimacy and community fostered in this uniquely inspiring locale.

Twenty years after the first festival, the 2014 edition was no exception, with pianists Martha Argerich, Evgeny Kissin, Daniil Trifonov and Jan Lisiecki, along with cellists Mischa Maisky and Gautier Capuçon, headlining a long list in which living legends rub shoulders with the younger generation of classical luminaries.

The dynamic young Verbier Festival Orchestra was conducted by revered maestri Charles Dutoit (an electrifying Tchaikovsky B-flat Piano Concerto with Martha Argerich), Marc Minkowski (Beethoven Fidelio – highlights) and Daniel Harding (Verdi’s Don Carlo). The festival also commissioned two important world premieres: Rodion Shchedrin’s Moscow-Petushki Dramatic Fragment for Orchestra, and young British composer Edward Nesbit’s To Dance On Sands for eight cellos.

The magical atmosphere and live excitement of this orchestral, opera and chamber music idyll are captured here on disc and digital audio platforms for the first time, for release in July. Just in time for the 2015 festival featuring Joyce DiDonato and Angela Gheorghiu, Edgar Moreau, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon and more in another sensational line-up.

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Saint-Saëns: La Muse et le Poète

Saint-Saëns: La Muse et le Poète


Saint-Saëns:

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 playing...is 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

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2014

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Gautier Capuçon plays Tchaikovsky & Prokofiev

Gautier Capuçon plays Tchaikovsky & Prokofiev


Prokofiev:

Sinfonia Concertante in E minor for cello & orchestra, Op. 125

Tchaikovsky:

Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33


‘Gautier Capuçon plays the cello with the control and wisdom of a much older musician. The lightness of his touch and the consistent clarity of his bow strokes are quite admirable in themselves, but when combined with an uncanny sweetness of tone in the higher registers they are breathtaking.’ Gramophone

A Frenchman in St Petersburg … Gautier Capuçon joins Valery Gergiev (making his Virgin Classics debut) and the Mariinsky Orchestra for works by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev

These live performances were recorded in St Petersburg on 24th December 2008 when Gautier Capuçon was the guest of Russia’s leading maestro – and one of the world’s most prominent conductors – the protean Valery Gergiev and his Mariinsky Orchestra. This is Gergiev’s debut on Virgin Classics; Capuçon, of course, is one of the mainstays of the label and this is his third album of solo works with orchestra.

His recording of the Dvorák and Victor Herbert concertos was released in early 2009. The Sunday Telegraph reported that: “This is not the first coupling of these works, but it is perhaps the most distinguished. The works have much in common and Gautier Capuçon makes the most of the music's melodic appeal. The Dvorák receives a powerful and intense interpretation with some superb orchestral solos to match the soloist's eloquence,” while The Guardian found that, in the Herbert, Capuçon “captures the work's rhapsodic ambitions and the lyrical charm of its slow movement perfectly … this version just about has it all.”

Gautier joined his brother, violinist Renaud for a recording of the Brahms Double Concerto, released in 2007. “There's something totally compelling about this performance of the Double Concerto from the first few bars,” wrote The Guardian, “when Gautier Capuçon launches into the opening cello solo with a rhapsodic freedom and expressive abandon that seems to sweep all before it, gathering first his brother Renaud's violin playing and then the Gustav Mahler Jugend Orchestra and conductor Myung-Whun Chung into the same unstoppable flood of lyricism.”

Tchaikovsky’s Mozart-inspired Rococo Variations are a mainstay of the cello repertoire, but Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante features less frequently in concerts and recordings. The work was premiered in 1952 by Mstislav Rostropovich, with the equally legendary pianist Sviatoslav Richter deserting the keyboard for the conductor’s baton. Its material is drawn from the composer’s earlier cello concerto, written in the 1930s.

“Gautier Capuçon and Valery Gergiev take both works very darkly and seriously. This furrowed-browed approach makes their Symphony-Concerto- …unlike any other. No one manages the first movement's withdrawal into dreams more magically than Gergiev with hushed Mariinsky strings, and Capuçon quickly follows pensive suit.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2010 ****

“Capuçon and Gergiev cleave through histrionic superficiality to produce a reading that bites but never barks.” Michael Quinn, bbc.co.uk, 16th February 2010

“Even in this crowded field Gautier Capuçon stands out as exceptional, majoring in elegant, pure, singing tone and long lyrical phrasing rather than waspish attack...there are grand and glorious things here” Gramophone Magazine, April 2010

“Gautier Capuçon’s French sensibility is ideally suited to Tchaikovsky’s nostalgic backward glance to the era of his favourite composer, Mozart. He also digs deep into Prokofiev’s mid-20th-century angst” Sunday Times, 13th December 2009 ****

“...you can't help but be seduced by the passion and irony of [Capucon's] playing. Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra bring terrific drama and fire to it as well.” The Guardian, 11th February 2010 ****

“The Mozart-inspired Tchaikovsky piece is dispatched with a light touch, Capuçon's bow dancing over the strings but retaining a sureness of tone.” The Independent, 1st January 2010 **

“Capuçon [plays] with a blend of impeccable taste, Romantic ardour and technical aplomb...Whether quizzical, rapturous, pensive or demonstrative, Capuçon has full measure of [the music] here in a performance of impressive stature.” The Telegraph, 29th January 2010 *****

“Mellifluous tones pour from Gautier Capuçon’s cello, even when he’s partnered by conductor Valery Gergiev, usually a firebrand.” The Times, 16th January 2010 ***

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Rachmaninov & Prokofiev - Cello Sonatas

Rachmaninov & Prokofiev - Cello Sonatas


Prokofiev:

Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 119

Rachmaninov:

Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19


“Capuçon's elegant, singing tone responds especially well to the Andante, with gentle exchanges between the instruments. Prokofiev's Sonata may seem an unusual coupling but it contrasts nicely, with it’s own latent lyricism and with the cheerful central Moderato that has all the harmonic wit and melodic charm of the composer at his best.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2008

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Brahms: Double Concerto & Clarinet Quintet

Brahms: Double Concerto & Clarinet Quintet


Brahms:

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


Schubert:

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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Brahms: String Sextets Nos. 1 & 2

Brahms: String Sextets Nos. 1 & 2

Live from Aix Easter Festival 2016


Brahms:

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

Released or re-released in last 6 months

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