Although Mozart was himself a fine violinist, his five violin
concertos, dashed off in a record eight month span in 1775, were
most likely written for Antonio Brunetti, a virtuoso in the court
orchestra of the Archbishop of Salzburg. Given that Mozart detested
both men it is no wonder that he never composed another violin
concerto thereafter. They are perfectly crafted and tuneful and
even poignant in the slow movements, but they do not hold a candle
to the magnificent body of concertos for the piano that Mozart
composed throughout his life for his own able use.
Sinfonia Concertante, a form that Mozart discovered during
his 1777 visit to Mannheim, is quite the horse of a different color. Mozart composed three such
works if you count the Concerto for Flute and Harp which was
written for a father-daughter pair of wealthy patrons. The
example for violin and viola is without question one of his
finest works, a masterpiece that stands with the late symphonies
and piano concertos and the stunning Clarinet Quintet in its
utter perfection of construction and its magnificent exploitation
of the coloristic possibilities of the two solo instruments.
Classics continue to capitalize on the remarkable talents
of the Brothers Capuçon whose remarkable musicianship has
yet to fail in some two dozen recordings thus far. Violinist
Renaud is featured here in these fine performances of the
first and third violin concertos. Capuçon is noteworthy for
being unafraid to be original. His tone, while always luminous
and full-throated, is not generically sweet. In this he pleasingly
departs from the many cookie-cutter recordings of the standard
repertoire. Indeed he is not afraid to risk a little aggression
from time to time, and that tendency makes these performances
of rather standard-fare concertos most refreshing.
is however in the Sinfonia Concertante, where Capuçon is joined
by an artistic and emotional equal in the person of Antoine
Tamesitt, that the music springs to life. As with the recent
recording involving brother Gautier of the Brahms Double Concerto
the performers have a unity of purpose that is striking. Each
musical gesture is of one accord, as best noted by some stunning
octave work. The middle movement is as gorgeous as Michelangelo’s
David, marked by breathtaking phrasing and a seamless legato.
Round it all off with a joyous presto that brings you to the
edge of your chair and you have one of the outstanding recordings
of the year.
off to youth and a brilliant new generation of performers.
Classical music is a dying art form? Mmmm, I don’t think so.