Double Concerto in A minor Op.102 (1887) [34:25]
Clarinet Quintet in B Minor Op.115 (1891) [37:56]*
(violin), Gautier Capuçon (cello), Gustav
Mahler Jugendorchester/Myung-Whun Chung; Paul Meyer (clarinet),
rec. Osterfestspiele - Grosses Festspielhaus (Salzburg, Austria),
Grazer Kongress – Stefaniensaal (Graz, Austria), Wiener Musikverein
(Vienna, Austria), 8-10 April 2007; Paris, Eglise du Bon Secours,
9-10 July 2007*. DDD VIRGIN CLASSICS
brothers Capuçon are a force of nature. Their new account of
the Brahms Double
by no other in the catalogue. Usually when comparing a new
recording of this piece to my benchmark recordings – Oistrakh
with Fournier and Oistrakh with Rostropovich – I soon begin
to feel sorry for the newcomer. Not so here. Renaud and Gautier
Capuçon yield nothing to the most exalted competition.
the bold, quasi-improvisatory first statement of Gautier Capuçon's
cello, it is clear that autumnal sentiment is to play no part
in this performance. Where Fournier is aristocratic and Rostropovich
commanding, Gautier Capuçon is brooding and feisty, his tone
like a rich port wine. His brother is hardly less passionate,
and when he joins the fray than the brothers begin to strike
sparks off one another, and the orchestra. The outer movements
surge with wild abandon, and the central movement heaves and
sighs with passionate longing. Every phrase is surprising here,
emerging with the freshness of new adventure.
compared this performance to the recent account from Julia
Fischer and Daniel Müller-Schott on Pentatone.
The contrast is telling. The Pentatone performance is very
good, and has a lovely lightness to the interplay between the
soloists. It demonstrates emphatically, though, the greater
maturity of the Capuçons' conception of the piece, for all
the impetuosity of their performance.
are aided and abetted by a sympathetic Myung-Whun Chung, who
leads the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester with great dramatic
flair. While the music gushes forth with unstoppable momentum,
he never allows the accompaniment to become insensitive, and
coaxes some gorgeous detail from his players. The clarinet,
for example, conjures a moment of repose at about 6:30 into
the first movement that is meltingly beautiful.
liner-notes suggest that the Double Concerto was pieced together
from three separate concert performances given over three days
in April this year in three different venues. Be not afraid,
though. Michael Seberich's engineering presents a seamless,
warm acoustic. There are no audience noises to speak of either.
coupling for the Double Concerto is unusual and generous. Rather
than offering up another Beethoven Triple or a solo turn for
Renaud in the Brahms violin concerto, the brothers team up
with the other members of their quartet and the clarinetist
Paul Meyer for a glorious reading of the Brahms clarinet quintet.
Dating from roughly the same time in Brahms' life, it makes
a perfect disc mate and the performance is every bit as committed.
Renaud leads the quartet with style and Gautier supplies a
rock solid bass. The other members of their quartet match their
intensity, as does the fantastic Paul Meyer, whose virtuosity
is as impressive as his melted-butter tone is glorious.
excellent liner notes may quote Claude Rostand's assessment
of this piece as “a great, resigned confession , steeped in
a melodic atmosphere full of tenderness”, but this performance
sparkles with a fresh vitality that makes you sit up and take
fresh notice of this gorgeous piece.
studio recording is expertly balanced, this time by Michel
matter how many recordings of these pieces you have in your
collection, you need to buy this disc. It is one of the essential
purchases of 2007.
Other Capuçon recordings on
Virgin Classics 3326262 Inventions
cello and violin duos 3654762 Schubert piano trios 5455602 Haydn cello concertos
5454822 French works for violin and orchestra
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