Renaud Capuçon / Daniel Harding

Brahms, Berg: Violin Concertos

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Renaud Capuçon's brace of the Brahms and Berg violin concertos makes this an attractive release for Virgin Classics, though the drab cover might make it easy to overlook, and the antique appearance of the artwork could make it off-putting to classical newcomers. Capuçon is one of the most engaging young stars of the violin, and his fresh playing suggests nothing of an old-fashioned or stodgy approach. Accompanied by Daniel Harding and the Vienna Philharmonic, Capuçon plays Brahms with a light, soaring expression that is highly appealing, and his Berg is gentle and reflective, with a transparent line that communicates emotion in a satisfying song-like manner. The impulse in both performances is lyrical, and Capuçon's instincts for preserving a connected melody and suspending it with little show of effort make both concertos marvelous artistic experiences. Virgin's reproduction is rich and warm, especially in the ensemble blend, though the violin is always front and center, and it is never overwhelmed by the orchestra at its fullest or most forceful.

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