Distant Light (Bach / Vasks) Renaud Capuçon

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  • Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Violin concerto BWV 1042
  • 1I. Allegro07:05
  • 2II. Adagio e sempre piano05:22
  • 3III. Allegro02:43
  • Violin concerto BWV 1041
  • 4I. Allegro moderato03:39
  • 5II. Andante05:52
  • 6III. Allegro assai03:28
  • Peteris Vasks (1946-): Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra
  • 7I. Andante06:50
  • 8II. Cadenza 101:46
  • 9III. Cantabile03:44
  • 10IV. Mosso01:45
  • 11V. Cadenza II02:24
  • 12VI. Cantabile04:33
  • 13VII. Candenza III03:35
  • 14VIII. Andante07:14
  • Total Runtime01:00:00

Info for Distant Light (Bach / Vasks)

Renaud Capuçon’s first recording as both soloist and conductor is also his first recording with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He has chosen to juxtapose Bach’s violin concertos in A minor and E major with a haunting concerto written more than 350 years later: Tala gaisma (Distant Light) by contemporary Latvian composer Peteris Vasks.

This programme is as intriguing as it is unexpected. Capuçon – who points out that the Bach A minor was the first concerto he ever played – had considered the more conventional complement of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto; but he settled on Distant Light, a work which, as he says, “I fell in love with as soon as I discovered it”. He decided to “put together two different worlds, Bach’s and Vask’s ... Their music does, however share a purity ... it rises up from a source. When you play it, you don’t get tired … It is healing music, feeding you and giving you energy.”

It is perhaps no coincidence that Peteris Vasks has himself said: “My intention is to provide food for the soul and this is what I preach in my works ... Most people today no longer possess beliefs, love and ideals. The spiritual dimension has been lost.” Vasks was born in 1946, a year before his fellow Latvian, Gidon Kremer, the dedicatee of Distant Light, which was first heard in 1997 at the Salzburg Festival, performed by Kremer and his then newly-founded ensemble Kremerata Baltica, comprising young players from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

In his music, Vasks often draws on the phenomena of nature – here, twinkling stars in the night sky – and embeds elements of Latvian folk music in a modern idiom. The concerto was stimulated both by the composer’s own memories and Kremer’s German-language autobiography Kindheitsspiltter (Splinters of Childhood). Constructed as a single movement in eleven sections and characterised by contrasting moods, it is fundamentally tonal and often contemplative, inhabiting an aesthetic and spiritual world akin to that of composers such as Arvo Pärt, John Tavener and Henryk Górecki.

Renaud Capuçon describes the Chamber Orchestra of Europe as “an amazing orchestra, with extraordinary concentration and focus. Within a few seconds of starting to play, we were all sharing the same spirit.” He was also delighted to have, as he said, “the luxury of a leading harpsichordist”, the French player Céline Frisch, to provide the continuo.

“Directing the orchestra from the violin, I have a different and wider set of responsibilities. Rather than getting caught up in the detail of the solo part, it’s up to me to drive the whole session. By taking on the extra role, I gain a better view of the whole musical picture. But with this orchestra, the experience is like playing chamber music, with players around the ensemble contributing their opinions as the recording session progresses. It’s all very organic.”

Renaud Capuçon, violin & direction
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Céline Frisch, continuo (Bach)

Renaud Capuçon
Born in Chambéry in 1976, Renaud Capuçon studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris with Gérard Poulet and Veda Reynolds. He was awarded first prize for chamber music in 1992 and first prize for violin with a special distinction from the jury in 1993. In 1995 he won the Prize of the Berlin Academy of Arts. Then he studied with Thomas Brandis in Berlin, and later with Isaac Stern. Invited by Claudio Abbado in 1997, he continued his musical experiences as konzertmeister of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester during three summers with Pierre Boulez, Seiji Ozawa, Daniel Barenboim, Franz Welser-Moest and of course Claudio Abbado. In 2000 he was nominated “Rising Star” and “New talent of the Year” (French Victoires de la Musique), in 2005 “Soliste instrumental de l’année”, also by the French Victoires de la Musique, and in 2006 “Prix Georges Enesco” (Sacem).

He is playing with: Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Munich Bayerische Rundfunk, DSO Berlin, Bamberger Symphoniker, Hessischer Rundfunk, NDR Hamburg and WDR Köln orchestras, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Phiharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Washington National Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Simon Bolivar Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre de Paris, Lyon, Monte-Carlo, and Toulouse Orchestras, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, Moskow Radio Tchaikovsky Orchestra, Danish Royal Orchestra, Swedish Radio Orchestra, London Symphony, Academy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, City of Birmingham Symphony, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Firenze Maggio Musicale Orchestra, Milano Scala Philharmonic, Rome Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Lausanne and Zurich Chamber Orchestras, under Marc Albrecht, Christian Arming, Lionel Bringuier, Semyon Bychkov, Myung-Whun Chung, Jesus Lopez Cobos, Thomas Dausgaard, Christoph von Dohnanyi Gustavo Dudamel, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Ivan Fischer, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Gunther Herbig, Kristjan, Paavo and Neeme Järvi, Philippe Jordan, Emmanuel Krivine, Kurt Masur, Ludovic Morlot, Andris Nelsons, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, David Robertson, Dennis Russel-Davis, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Leonard Slatkin, Tugan Sokhiev, Robert Ticciati… In 2011 he toured USA with the China Philharmonic and Long Yu, played in China with the Guangzhou and Shanghai Symphonies and Claus Peter Flor and gave integrals of Beethoven Sonatas with F. Braley in Europe, Singapore and Hong-Kong.

Renaud Capuçon plays chamber music with Martha Argerich, Hélène Grimaud, Nicholas Angelich, Frank Braley, Yefim Bronfman, Myung-Whun Chung, Yuri Bashmet, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Mischa Maisky, Truls Mork, Maria Joao Pires, Mikhail Pletnev, Antoine Tamestit, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Maxim Vengerov. He is invited by prestigious festivals: London Mostly Mozart, Edinburgh, Berlin, Ludwigsburg, Rheingau, Lucerne, Montreux, Lockenhaus, Verbier, Gstaad, Salzburg, Schwarzenberg, Jerusalem, Stavanger, Canarias, San Sebastian, Aix-en-Provence, Roque d’Anthéron, Menton, Saint-Denis, Strasbourg, Hollywood Bowl, Tanglewood…

Discography for EMI Classics: Mendelssohn and Haydn trios and the Triple Concerto by Beethoven with Martha Argerich, Schubert recital, Berlioz/Saint-Saëns/Milhaud/Ravel with Daniel Harding and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Ravel chamber music with Gautier Capuçon and Frank Braley, duos with his brother; Dutilleux Concerto with the Radio France Philharmonic under Myung-Whun Chung (« Grand Prix Académie Charles Cros », « Choc de la Musique », « Diapason d’Or », « Fonoforum/Sterne des Monates »), Saint-Saëns chamber music, Brahms Trios with Gautier Capuçon and Nicholas Angelich (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik), Schubert Trout, Mendelssohn/Schumann concertos with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Daniel Harding, Brahms Sonatas with Nicholas Angelich (Gramophone/Editor’s Choice-Scherzo/Excepcional-Diapason d’Or-Choc/Monde de la Musique), Brahms Double Concerto with Gautier Capuçon and the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (Gramophone/Editor’s Choice) and Brahms Quartets with Gautier, Gérard Caussé and Nicholas Angelich, Mozart Concertos and Sinfonia Concertante with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Louis Langrée and Antoine Tamestit, Beethoven/Korngold concertos with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Beethoven Sonatas for violin/piano with Frank Braley, Fauré chamber music with N. Angelich, G. Capuçon, M. Dalberto, G. Caussé and Ebène Quartet.

Renaud Capuçon plays the Guarneri del Gesù “Panette” (1737) that belonged to Isaac Stern, bought for him by the Banca Svizzera Italiana (BSI). In June 2011 he is appointed “Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite” by the French Government.

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