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‘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.
13th December 2009
“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”
1st January 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.”
16th January 2010
“Mellifluous tones pour from Gautier Capuçon’s cello, even when he’s partnered by conductor Valery Gergiev, usually a firebrand.”
29th 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.”
“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.”
11th February 2010
“...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.”
“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”
16th February 2010
“Capuçon and Gergiev cleave through histrionic superficiality to produce a reading that bites but never barks.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.