The Strad Issue: March 2016
Description: Evergreens enhanced by Capuçon’s purity and uncanny accompaniment
Musicians: Renaud Capuçon (violin) Orchestre de Paris/Paavo Järvi
Composer: Bruch; Lalo; Sarasate

In an opulently engineered recording with a generous amount of reverberation, Renaud Capuçon and Paavo Järvi ensure that the Lalo swashes its buckler with plenty of Spanish machismo and symphonic swagger. Combining the heartfelt intensity of Isaac Stern (CBS/Sony, also coupled with the Bruch) with Shlomo Mintz’s glistening precision (DG), Capuçon somehow sustains a radiant cantabile throughout even the most awkwardly displaced passages of virtuoso chicanery. With Järvi displaying a Eugene Ormandy-like ability to anticipate Capuçon’s every move, one cannot help but be compelled by the music’s powerful emotional narrative.

The bracing freshness and spontaneity that prove such a winning combination in the Lalo similarly inform the Bruch, only here just occasionally – as in the secondary material of the opening movement and finale – there is a slight sense that the music is being moved along where the phrases ideally need a little more room to expand (Stern is at his exultant best here). Capuçon beguiles the senses throughout with his trademark tonal and intonational purity, and Järvi again ensures that the players of the Orchestre de Paris are vital protagonists in the concerto’s dramatic sweep. In Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen, Capuçon’s exquisite timing, expressive poise and suave micro-inflections thankfully avoid any sense of ‘geepsy’ schmaltz or camp disingenuousness.

Julian Haylock