Magazine article Strings

Pure Korngold

Magazine article Strings

Pure Korngold

Article excerpt

Renaud Capuçon steps into the spotlight with a celebrity concerto straight from the silver screen

Ask Renaud Capuçon about his passion for the Korngold Violin Concerto and the French violinist can't, help but state a deep personal connection. "I made my debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in the Korngold," he says. At that 2002 debut, the 33 -year -old Capuçon had replaced Gil Shaham on the program. And he forged another personal link with this still somewhat unknown piece, which he recently recorded: he closed the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France's 2008-09 season with the Korngold conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.

On the new EMI recording, Capuçon juxtaposes Ludwig van Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold 's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, a pair of works separated by 140 years, yet sharing a strong lyrical quality and a fair share of fireworks. "They're my favorite concertos," he says, alang with the Mendelssohn and Brahms."

The elite status Capuçon accords to Korngold may surprise some - the 1945 work was the first concert piece penned by Korngold after a long stint writing for Hollywood films, and it is said that the composer set about to silence critics who charged that he had lost his artistic integrity. The concerto has recently made a huge charge into the musical mainstream after being championed by Capuçon, Anne-Sophie Mutter, James Ehnes, Nikolaj Znaider, Philippe Quint, Pavel Sporcl, and Miranda Cuckson, all of whom have recorded the concerto in the past decade.

"It's well written," Capuçon says. "It sings - it's always a pleasure to play. I was turned on to it when I was in my midteens and fell in love with Gil Shaham's recording. …

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