Renaud Capuçon / Myung-Whun Chung

Rihm: Gedicht des Malers; Dusapin: Aufgang; Mantovani: Jeux d'eau

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These three violin concertos were all commissioned by Renaud Capuçon, a staunch supporter of contemporary music. The pieces, and the performances of them, date from between 2012 and 2015 and are of diverse origins, and it says something for Capuçon that he elicited music that hangs together from the three diverse composers with whom he worked closely in creating this music. Even with the single-movement structure of Wolfgang Rihm's Gedicht des Malers and Bruno Mantovani's Jeux d'eau, versus the conventional three movements of Pascal Dusapin's Aufgang, the three works share a lyrical mood, a modern, broadly atonal language, brilliant virtuoso treatment of the violin, rich contrapuntal writing in the orchestra, and an orientation toward past musical models. That orientation is clearest in the work of Mantovani (who is not related to the famed easy listening conductor, but admires him); Jeux d'eau, meaning fountains, but also the elusive concept of water games, is an image that has fascinated composers since the 19th century, and you can find hints of many of them in Mantovani's work. Rihm's Gedicht des Malers (Poem of the Painter) portrays the violinist as a painter in sound, referring to the virtuoso Eugène Ysaÿe, the painter Max Beckmann, and perhaps the composer Paul Hindemith of the similarly dense yet exuberant Mathis der Maler. None of this is simple music, but it yields much to repeated hearings. The sound is reasonable despite the multiple origins, and this recording suggests that there's plenty of life in the venerable concerto form yet.

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