Renaud Capuçon’s exciting new Mozart project for Deutsche Grammophon comprises three albums and two STAGE+ performances, all to come before the end of the year. Together they encompass the artist’s multi-faceted career as concerto soloist, chamber musician, artistic director and mentor to outstanding young talent.
Mozart: The Violin Concertos, recorded with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne (OCL), of which Capuçon is Artistic Director, is scheduled for release on 29 September 2023. Recorded with three of the emerging artists mentored by Capuçon, Mozart: The Piano Quartets will follow on 10 November, and will inaugurate the Capuçon-DG Beau Soir imprint. The violinist’s trilogy of 2023 Mozart albums will be launched, meanwhile, with the release on 23 June of Mozart: Sonatas for piano and violin, made with American pianist Kit Armstrong.
Capuçon’s Mozart project gets underway in fine style with the release of Mozart: Sonatas for piano and violin, a 4-CD set recorded with Kit Armstrong in Berlin last October. The sonatas have been central to the duo’s partnership since they made their debut together with the works at the 2016 Salzburg Mozartwoche. Their creative vision brings to life the diverse character and inventive brilliance of compositions that span the breadth of Mozart’s mature career, from the dashing pieces he wrote in his early twenties to the sensational Sonata in A major K 526, written in the summer of 1787.
“Everything works in a completely uncomplicated and natural way,” Renaud Capuçon observes about making music with Kit Armstrong. “To perform these pieces with Kit is to embark on a wonderful musical journey.” In reply, Armstrong says, “When I hear Renaud render Mozart’s lyrical flights with all the sumptuousness and refinement that modern violin playing can have, I am convinced: it is beautiful, and that is what matters.”
Mozart has been at the heart of the OCL’s repertoire since its foundation in 1942, and the orchestra’s extensive discography already includes acclaimed recordings of the composer’s complete piano concertos and serenades and other works. Now Mozart: The Violin Concertos reflects the rapport that Renaud Capuçon and the OCL have developed since the former became the ensemble’s Artistic Director at the start of the 2021‑22 season. “Ever since then, it’s been obvious that I should record the five Mozart concertos with them,” recalls Capuçon. “We have a natural musical affinity in this repertoire, and their sound and sense of phrasing are so inspiring. Recording these works together was pure joy.”
Assuming the dual role of soloist and director, Capuçon turned to the subtle musical complexities of the concertos armed with a feeling for their spontaneity and a determination to bring them to life in the moment. Recorded last September at Lausanne’s Théâtre de Beaulieu, the 2-CD album also includes the Rondo in C major K 373 and Adagio in E major K 261.
Capuçon’s final Mozart release of the year, an e-album to appear under the new Beau Soir imprint, reflects his enduring encouragement of exceptional young talent. He is joined by three fast-rising stars – violist Paul Zientara, cellist Stéphanie Huang and pianist Guillaume Bellom – in the Piano Quartet in G minor K 478 and the Piano Quartet in E flat major K 493, a pair of formally intricate, emotionally complex works that date from around the time of Mozart’s operas Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro.
Adding further depth to this Mozart series, DG’s STAGE+ platform will present two concerts featuring stellar performances by Renaud Capuçon. Last November, the violinist was appointed Artistic Director of the Rencontres Musicales d’Évian festival, in time for this year’s 30th-anniversary edition. On 30 June he will play-direct Violin Concertos Nos. 3 & 5 and conduct Symphony No. 40 with the OCL – the full programme will be streamed live from the beautiful La Grange au Lac concert hall. The second STAGE+ concert was filmed at Salzburg’s Mozarteum during the 2014 Mozartwoche and sees the violinist joined by four outstanding fellow chamber musicians – violinist Alina Ibragimova, violists Gerard Causée and Léa Hennino, and cellist Clemens Hagen – in acclaimed readings of Mozart’s six string quintets.