This is a CD of standard French bon bons for solo violin and orchestra. The violinist, Renaud Capucon, is an established professional violinist, but not exactly a house hold name, with an international super star reputation and following.
He plays with complete ease, the phrasing always musical, and never schmaltzy, or overdone, or in any way "look at me, and what I can do." If anything, Capucon's playing is laid back, his tone is absolutely beautiful, clear, and pure.
He is placed in a somewhat recessed position, miked separately from the Deutsche Kammermuskorchester, yet forward and balanced within the overall scheme. The result is somewhat like an orchestral concert, yet Capucon, and his instrument are never swallowed up or overwhelmed by the orchestra.
The program begins with a lovely, unshowy and unexagerated perfomance of Saint Saens Introduction and Rondo Capriccios, switches to Massanet's Meditation from "Thais", and includes music by Ravel, Berlioz and Milhaud.
It would be nice to hear Capucon pull out all stops, say, in the Ravel Tzigane, but that is not his style. This is the sort of CD that is very easy to listen to, enjoy, and want to come back repeatedly. This is really stylish playing, the sort one simply doesn't hear with a number of prominent violinists.
In addition, the CD offers, on a single disc, what ordinarily is spread out on several CDs, and sometimes hard to track down, even with a lot of effort.
The sound is in the very best digital condition, with a totally silent background, excellent definition, balance, and instrumental tone throughout.
The program consists of:
1. Saint Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso
2. Massanet: Meditation from "Thais"
3. Saint Saens: Havanaise
4. Ravel: Tzigane
5. Saint Saens (arranged by Ysaye): Valse-caprice
6. Saint Saens: Danse macabre
7. Berlioz: Reverie et Caprice
8. Milhaud: Le Boeuf sur le toit
Daniel Harding conducts a fine Deutsche Kammerorchester. Timing is 73:49.