Tchaikovsky - Rococo Variations; Prokofiev - Sinfonia Concertante
Gautier Capuçon; Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre; Valery Gergiev
Virgin Classics 9 694486 0
This excellent CD is a live recording of a Christmas Eve 2008 concert at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg.
Gautier Capuçon is an outstanding player, although I feel he tends to favour detail over the bigger phrase at times. Such an approach is fine in the Rococo Variations, where the virtuosic demands outnumber the emotional, and Capuçon handles them with ease and style.
The Prokofiev is clearly another matter, but Capuçon rises to the challenge. Dating from the early 1950s, when Prokofiev was still under censure for his “antidemocratic tendencies”, the Sinfonia concertante is a reworking of his Op.58 Cello Concerto from the late 1930s, and marked a return to his true style. Even so, Prokofiev was wise enough to supply an alternative – and more orthodox! – version of the finale for the premiere. Gautier has apparently loved this fascinating work since his childhood days, and it shows in his convincing and nuanced performance, full of the “calm power and serene strength” that he rightly says the cellist needs.
The orchestral support from superstar conductor Gergiev and the OMT is, not surprisingly, of the highest order. The recording ambience is warm and natural, with no hint of audience noise. The booklet notes are excellent, and are particularly illuminating on the publishing history of the Tchaikovsky.
I may still a bit reluctant to fully jump on the Capuçon bandwagon, but this CD certainly has me now hanging on to the tailgate!