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Un violon à Paris

Renaud Capuçon (violin), Guillaume Bellom (piano) (Erato)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
9029652001_Capucon

Un violon à Paris
Works by JS Bach, Chaplin, Chopin, Debussy, Grappelli, Korngold, Kreisler, Massenet, Schubert, Schumann et al
Renaud Capuçon (violin), Guillaume Bellom (piano)
Erato 9029652001   80:13 mins

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During France’s first lockdown in 2020, violinist Renaud Capuçon and pianist Guillaume Bellom got together via the miracles of modern technology and performed a different piece on social media every day in order to help raise music lovers’ spirits around the world. This in turn inspired the present album, a 22-strong collection of predominately reflective miniature arrangements ranging from Schubert’s ‘Ständchen’ and the Aria from Bach’s Third Orchestral Suite to Chaplin’s ‘Smile’ (from Modern Times) and ‘O mio babbino caro’ from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.

Once upon a time, the prevailing tendency with such items was to give it all you’ve got – to pack about as much tonal luxuriance, nonchalant brilliance, interpretative suavity and emotional resonance as one could into a piece lasting around three minutes. Interestingly, the results were often more revealing about the various players musical proclivities than their bread-and-butter, mainstream repertoire.

Capuçon accordingly produces an elegantly sustained, warm sound, inflected by a medium-paced, medium-width vibrato, and phrases everything to exquisite perfection. Where he parts company with the general tendency is the touching intimacy he and Bellom create, a million miles away from the concert-hall projection normally favoured in material of this type.

Compared to the near hysteria often whipped up in Massenet’s ‘Méditation’, for example, they tantalise the senses by never overstating the obvious. Some may prefer something a little more hot-blooded in this repertoire, yet taken on its terms this is one of the most radiantly beautiful violin albums of recent years.

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Julian Haylock