Mozart: Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 3; Sinfonia concertante

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: Virgin
WORKS: Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 3; Sinfonia concertante
PERFORMER: Renaud Capuçon (violin), Antoine Tamestit (viola); Scottish CO/Louis Langrée
CATALOGUE NO: 502 1122

Advertisement

The First Concerto’s opening tutti sets the overall tone of this disc with bright and light phrasing. Renaud Capuçon’s first entry continues in that vein: he’s quite forwardly balanced, with a sweet sound, and a completely assured technique.

His vibrato is tight, never becoming sickly, and he spins an elegantly effortless line in the slow movement, with a wide variety of tone colour. I sometimes had the feeling that he was showing off, rather than letting the music speak naturally; in the Carmignola set of a year ago, there’s a much more finely-poised sense of Mozartean style, both from the soloist, and in Abbado’s orchestral textures.

That contrast is even more apparent in the greater weight of sound at the opening of the Third Concerto, but this is clearly the way that the performers view this movement, given the big concerto treatment, with a wide dynamic range. The slow movement begins with nicely veiled sonorities, but again a sense of point-scoring takes over, and the whole thing becomes rather too precious.

Advertisement

Precious is what you can’t afford to be in the Sinfonia Concertante, and, whether it’s the presence of Antoine Tamestit or a greater awareness of the profound quality of Mozart’s inspiration, this is a much less superficial performance. Still, Carmignola and Waskiewicz dig deeper, and though it means buying two discs with all the concertos, it’s worth the extra outlay. Martin Cotton