The BBC Proms has revealed its 2018 programme, with several French classical stars making their Proms debut.
On 5 September, Joyce DiDonato reprises the role of Dido in highlights from Berlioz's Les Troyens, this time with John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. The American mezzo's recent recording with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and maestro John Nelson won the BBC Music Magazine Award for Best Opera Album earlier this month.
French coloratura soprano Sabine Devieilhe will take to the Royal Albert Hall stage for the first time on 26 July in Debussy's sensual cantata La Damoiselle élue, marking the centenary of the French composer's death. She sings Debussy on her latest album of French arias and songs, Mirages.
In another important French debut, Romantic pianist extraordinaire Bertrand Chamayou plays Mendelssohn's First Concerto on 20 July, with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
At Cadogan Hall, on 23 July, Jean Rondeau: another Frenchman in another Proms debut, this time an all-French harpsichord recital including music by Royer (from his album Vertigo), François Couperin and a world-premiere by Eve Risser.
Violinist Renaud Capuçon was in London recently for the launch of his Bartók concertos album with the London Symphony Orchestra. He returns 19 August with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande as soloist in an orchestration of the Ravel Violin Sonata in G Major.
Soprano Diana Damrau sings her heartland repertory, songs by Richard Strauss, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko.
A conductor very much familiar to London audiences, Sir Antonio Pappano, brings his Italian Orchestra dell'Accadamia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia to town for Bernstein's Symphony No.1 marking the centenary of the American composer's birth in August. Pappano has recorded the complete Bernstein Symphonies and The Age of Anxiety with the same orchestra and pianist Beatrice Rana for release later this year.
Discover the complete 2018 BBC Proms line-up here.
The shortlists for the 13th annual BBC Music Magazine Awards, the only classical music awards in which the main categories are voted for by the public, have been announced. A jury of expert critics selected this year’s 21 nominees across seven categories from over 200 longlisted recordings reviewed in 2017 by BBC Music Magazine, the world’s best-selling classical music monthly. The public vote is now open at the magazine’s website.
The many distinguished and varied nominees include, in the Opera category, the epic recording of Les Troyens, hailed the new reference recording and topping many Best of 2017 lists including The New York Times, The Guardian and the Chicago Tribune, thanks to its impressive orchestral and choral forces and an all-star cast headed by Joyce DiDonato, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Michael Spyres and Marianne Crebassa.
'[Conductor John] Nelson drives the drama with unforced tempos but ample theatrical vitality. Spyres...sings with lyrical grace and spirit...Joyce DiDonato sings Dido with characteristic security and expressiveness,' opined BBC Music Magazine in its five-star review.
Flying the French flag in the Chamber category is the sensational team featuring Renaud Capuçon (violin), Edgar Moreau (cello), Emmanuel Pahud (flute) and Bertrand Chamayou (piano) in these mercurial Debussy sonatas - charming one moment, sensual the next. The French critics called the six players a 'supergroup', while BBC Music Magazine noted that 'a sense of joy in collegial music-making pervades these performances. Unlike many, violinist Renaud Capuçon and pianist Bertrand Chamayou and their colleagues do not avoid the vein of sensual passion that glows beneath Debussy's perfectionism...Perhaps the finest all is the beautiful balance of elegiac tone that thins out of the Sonata for Flute Viola and Harp.'
The Concerto category also features French harpsichord firebrand Jean Rondeau on the album Dynastie, with intensely intimate, energised performances of concertos by Bach and sons. 'His spirited and eloquently ornamented playing serves the music of JS Bach and three of his sons uncommonly well,' declared BBC Music Magazine.
There are seven categories open to the public vote: Orchestral, Concerto, Opera, Choral, Vocal, Chamber and Instrumental. Audio excerpts are available on the voting site, and all UK voters will be entered into a draw to win copies of the nominations.
The winners of the Awards will be announced at a ceremony on 5 April at Kings Place, London. In addition to the public awards, there are four jury awards: Premiere Recording, Newcomer of the Year, DVD of the Year and Recording of the Year.
See all the nominees and have your say now!
Diana Damrau : soprano
Nadine Sierra : soprano
Anita Rachvelishvili : mezzo-soprano
Bryan Hymel : tenor
Ludovic Tézier : baritone
Renaud Capuçon : violin
Gautier Capuçon : cello
Maîtrise de Radio France Chœur de Radio France
Sofi Jeannin : choral direction
Orchestre National de France
Valery Gergiev : direction
Christian Knapp : chief assistant
Acclaimed violinist Renaud Capuçon has another string to add to his bow with his album Le Violon Roi reaching Gold Disc status in his native France.
Celebratory cigar in hand, he collected the framed, golden album from Warner Classics' Paris office this week.
"I am thrilled to receive my first Gold Disc," he enthused. "I have been working hand in hand with Alain Lanceron and the Warner Classics teams for almost 20 years and I am proud to be part of the Erato and Warner Classics family. I'm delighted that we have many more exciting projects to come!"
As the collection demonstrates, hardly any violinist of the young generation has mastered such a diverse repertoire as Renaud Capuçon. The set showcases his vast discography from concertos to chamber music to encores - a glorious violin festival.
Le violon Roi is also a document of musical encounters that have had an impact on Capuçon's career - first of all those with his brother, the equally gifted cellist Gautier Capuçon, but also with pianists like Martha Argerich, Frank Braley and Nicholas Angelich.
Two days after her 75th birthday concert in Berlin with Daniel Barenboim, the indefatiguable pianist Martha Argerich has returned to the Swiss city of Lugano, home to her annual chamber music festival, the Progetto Martha Argerich.
This year's highly-anticipated event marks the festival's 15th anniversary and gathers some 70 superlative musicians from 7 until 30 June. Argerich will be joined by an impressive line-up of her friends and longtime collaborators including pianists Nicholas Angelich, Stephen Kovacevich and Dong Hyek Lim, violinists Renaud Capuçon and Vilde Frang, cellist Mischa Maisky, mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli and the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana. The opening night this evening celebrates the music of Bach.
For years, the concerts have been recorded by Warner Classics for the annual Lugano triple-album release. The 2015 edition is available now. Highlights from the current series of concerts will include, undoubtedly, Argerich's Ravel Concerto in G Major and her mercurial Gaspard de la nuit, as well as arias with Cecilia Bartoli.
The 2016 Progetto Martha Argerich (Martha Argerich & Friends at Lugano) runs until 30 June.
This Easter Sunday, busy with his dual role of artistic director and soloist at the Easter Festival in Aix-en-Provence, Renaud Capuçon received one of France's highest honours: the medal of the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur. The prestigious order of merit, founded by Napoleon and reserved for the nation's most illustrious, recognises significant contribution to French culture, heritage and achievement across various fields.
The accolade comes just weeks after Capuçon celebrated his 40th birthday with the release of the first album recorded at the Philharmonie de Paris, featuring the ever-popular Lalo Symphonie Espagnole.
Pianist Bertrand Chamayou, who was named Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur last year, was also present over Easter at Capuçon's Festival de Pâques.
Since the beginning of his career, Renaud Capuçon has remained loyal to his record company. During the Mozartwoche in Salzburg, on the 27th of January – the day he turned 40 - Renaud Capuçon performed Dutilleux’s violin concerto l’Arbre des songes with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and under the direction of Tugan Sokhiev. The following day, in the presence of Alain Lanceron, president of Warner Classics and Erato (pictured, left), the violonist renewed his contract with the Erato label.
Although his album of Lalo, Bruch and Sarasate has just been released, another record is already in the making. This album will be available during the 2016/2017 season, and will include three concertos that have been composed for and dedicated to Renaud Capuçon himself. Each was recorded live at its world premiere: Bruno Mantovani’s concerto with the Opéra national de Paris, Wolfgang Rihm’s with the Wiener Symphoniker, both under the direction of Philippe Jordan, and Pascal Dusapin’s with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under the direction of Myung-Whun Chung.
"As I celebrate my fortieth birthday, I am looking forward to upcoming projects and delighted to renew this long-term contract with Warner Classics that began 16 years ago!” said Capuçon.
Renaud Capuçon's new album (Lalo, Bruch, Sarasate) is out now.
"It gives me enormous pleasure, as I celebrate my fortieth birthday (and incidentally I share a birthday with Mozart and Lalo, amongst others), to play and replay these works which are so well written for violin. It was an intense and exhilarating experience to record them in Paris - the very place where Symphonie espagnole had its first performance - with the Orchestre de Paris and Paavo Järvi in the brand new Philharmonie de Paris hall.
“These three works, all written between 1868 and 1878, are among the most famous in the history of the violin. There is a history of respect and friendship linking the three composers, Lalo, Sarasate and Bruch. Lalo dedicated his Symphonie espagnole to Sarasate. It was also to Sarasate that, not long afterwards, Bruch dedicated his Fantaisie écossaise, while it was the great Joachim who first brought Bruch's concerto to the attention of the world.
"As for me, I was 12 years old when I first tackled these works with Veda Reynolds. The Bruch was my first competition piece, the Lalo was the work I chose when I played for Gérard Poulet for the first time and I performed the Sarasate at my first 'serious' récital.
"I would like to dedicate this album to two great men who were both passionate about the Bruch concerto, two people who were very dear to me but who passed away recently: Jacques Chancel and Gratien Ferrari.”
Renaud Capuçon exudes a youthful air, but, now firmly established as one of the world’s leading violinists, he celebrates his 40th birthday on 27 January 2016. This release of the best-known works of three composers – Edouard Lalo, Pablo de Sarasate and Max Bruch – marks this important personal occasion in a suitably festive fashion. Capuçon made the recordings with Paavo Järvi and the Orchestre de Paris at the orchestra’s new home, the French capital’s Philharmonie, which opened in early 2015 and was immediately hailed for its superb acoustics. The Bruch concerto became the first piece to be recorded there, in May 2015.
As it happens, Capuçon shares a birthday with Edouard Lalo, born in 1823 – and with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart too! Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, first performed in Paris in 1874, inhabits the same Franco-Spanish musical world as Bizet’s Carmen, which received its premiere the following year. The piece also has a special connection with both Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen [Gypsy Airs] and Bruch’s Concerto No1, as Renaud Capuçon explains:
“These three works, first heard between 1868 and 1878, are among the most famous in the history of the violin, and there are links of friendship and respect between their three composers – Lalo, Sarasate and Bruch: Lalo dedicated his Symphonie espagnole to Sarasate [born in northern Spain and one of the most celebrated violinists of his time]. Bruch dedicated his Scottish Fantasy to Sarasate some years later, but it was the great Joseph Joachim who gave the first performance of Bruch’s Concerto No 1.”
All three pieces also have a special significance for Capuçon: “I first approached these works when I was 12 years old and studying at the Paris Conservatoire with Veda Reynolds [a celebrated American violin teacher]. I played the Bruch in my first competitions; the Lalo was the first piece I played to Gerard Poulet [Capuçon’s other teacher at the Paris Conservatoire] and the Sarasate featured in my first proper recital."
The personal nature of this album is further emphasised by Renaud Capuçon’s wish to dedicate it to the memories of two people who meant a great deal to him: the broadcaster Jacques Chancel, who died in December 2014, and his father-in-law Gratien Ferrari, who died in October 2015.
Capuçon’s credentials in this kind of Romantic music are made clear in reviews of past performances and recordings. When he played the Lalo in London in 2012, The Guardian praised him for capturing “the full measure of the seriousness behind its grace and wit. Capuçon played with virile agility and tremendous nobility of tone,” while The Times extolled a “gorgeous performance from violin soloist Renaud Capuçon, laidback in manner, but so nimble, so fiery.”
The Bruch concerto – with its rhapsodic first movement and energetic, dancing finale is close in spirit to the Brahms Violin Concerto, composed in 1878 and also dedicated to Joseph Joachim. Capuçon’s recording of the Brahms was released in 2012. Reviewing the CD, The Telegraph wrote that: “Capuçon has an impressive grasp of the concerto’s expressive contours, using his technical arsenal with finesse and tracing the music’s breadth of line and its arching shapes while maintaining its inner momentum. The rhythmic punch and energy of the finale are echoed by the orchestra’s powerful attack and buoyancy ... This is altogether a remarkable disc.”
Renaud Capuçon's new album of Lalo, Sarasate and Bruch is out 22 January.
On 19 January in Paris, violinist Renaud Capuçon inaugurates a series of six concerts paying hommage to German violinist Adolf Busch (1891-1952), the mentor of Yehudi Menuhin and a devoted chamber musician.
"Adolf Busch was one of the very greatest musicians of the 20th century," says Capuçon. "He was a violinist of countless qualities and a man of exceptional musical integrity and humanity. He stands as a role model for generations of musicians seeking their artistic identity."
Fittingly, Capuçon is joined next week at the Philharmonie de Paris by some of his frequent chamber music partners, including brilliant 21-year-old cellist Edgar Moeau, and American pianist Nicholas Angelich, in a programme of Beethoven (String Quartet No.14) and Brahms (Piano Quintet Op.34): heartland repertoire for Busch, who recorded the same Brahms Piano Quintet with Rudolf Serkin in 1938.
Although the image that is most often associated with Renaud Capuçon is that of the dazzling soloist, the star in front of the orchestra, he is also an enthusiastic exponent of chamber music, often performing with his cellist brother Gautier, with pianist Martha Argerich, or with Khatia Buniatishvili with whom he recorded Franck, Grieg and Dvorak violin sonatas in 2014.
Celebrated for his unique style of phrasing and his belief that musical expression should be prized above technical showmanship, Busch was one of the first leading artists of his day to embrace the recording process, following the birth of the 78rpm disc. A rich and significant catalogue ensued: from solo and duo works to some of chamber music’s most famous masterpieces.
A 16-CD boxed set released last year presents Adolf Busch and The Busch Quartet's complete recordings now in the Warner Classics catalogue – interpretations of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and more, many of which remain unsurpassed to this day.
Renaud Capuçon releases his new album of violin concertos, recorded at the Philharmonie de Paris, late January 2016 to celebrate his 40th birthday.
Semyon Bychkov, Czech Philharmonic
Semyon Bychkov, Czech Philharmonic
Philharmonie de Paris
Semyon Bychkov, Czech Philharmonic
Philharmonie de Paris
Jerome Ducros, Hugues Borsarello, Gautier Capuçon