The Concerto (Elgar’s Opus 61, for Fritz Kreisler) was recorded during September last year at LSO St Luke’s, the London Symphony Orchestra photographed in the booklet as adopting social-distancing seating. The sound is excellent, spacious yet tangible, the orchestra rich and vivid, Simon Rattle fashioning a flexible introduction – striding, nobilmente, reflective, passionate – a pointer to Renaud Capuçon’s appreciative approach to the solo part, played immaculately with silken/consistent tone, varieties of intensity, emotionalism, and concert-hall spontaneity. Plenty of meaningful and exciting ebb and flow informs the first movement, and tender nostalgia the second, the music’s intimacy very affecting, Capuçon heartfelt, whether glowing or whispering. With the Finale the performers conspire a vibrant traversal – purposeful, eager – with goals in view, not least the ‘accompanied cadenza’, brought off with much subtlety and fantasy, and the majestic conclusion, fizzed towards, and then delivered with powerful resolution.
A couple of days before the Concerto sessions, Capuçon joined Stephen Hough at St Jude-on-the-Hill for Elgar’s E-minor Sonata for Violin and Piano (Opus 82). It’s a revealing interpretation, as much Hough’s success as Capuçon’s, impassioned, alive with sentiment, the two musicians displaying an admirable rapport and inspiring one another, balanced justly and dynamically. Of particular poetry is the central slow movement, Elgar tantalising us with his trademark enigmatic expression.
Erato 0190295112820 is crowned by an excellent booklet note from Kenneth Woods.