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“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.”
15th October 2009
“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.”
16th 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”
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