There is real artistic synergy here
Charlotte Gardner 2009-05-21
Last year, Renaud Capucon received high praise for his recording of Mendelssohn and Schumann violin concertos with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under Daniel Harding. It was his first concerto disc. His second programme of concertos, this time with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Louis Langree, looks set to be another artistic success.
For whatever reason, it seems Mozart didn't get much of a kick out of writing violin concertos. He only wrote five of them, and all between the April and December of 1775 when he was just nineteen. Compare that to the twenty-seven piano concertos that span from his childhood to the final year of his life. Despite Mozart's apparent dislike, or at least ambivalence, towards the genre, the two concertos on this disc – No.1, K207 and No.3, K.216 - contain all his usual vivacity, humour and, in the third, depth. The challenge inherent within any of Mozart's chamber and solo works is to make the intricate, gossamer-fine melodic lines sound effortlessly light, rather than laboured and heavy.
This performance achieves just that. Capucon'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.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra have won a clutch of awards recently for its Mozart Symphonies 38-41 disc under Sir Charles Mackerras for Linn. Under the baton of Louis Langree, they deliver all their characteristic freshness and grasp of the subtleties of Mozart’s scores. After the concertos comes the Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola and orchestra in E flat. Richard Wagner likened the discussion of opening themes between the viola and violin to the passionate accents of the human voice, and Capucon and Tamestit speak as one.
There is real artistic synergy here: each matches the others gentle poise and warmth, with the velvety depth of the viola setting off the sweet descant of the violin.