Warner Classics 9029521413 (77’)
This is an album that had escaped my notice until now. Unless you are into downloads or still have a local record shop, it may be too late for Christmas listening but will provide ear balm for continuing troubled times in the New Year, albeit hopefully less troubled than when the disc was released in early November. In Britain, at least, the availability of a vaccine means the candle of hope is now burning brighter.
Multiple award winner, Gautier Capuçon (born 1981) – the youngest brother of the violinist Renaud Capuçon – started learning the cello at four years of age and today is rated as one of the world’s best players.
It has been an emotional year and this 18-track eclectic collection is contemplative in its choice. It ranges through popular classics – like Albinoni’s Adagio, Debussy’s Clair de Lune, Dvořák’s Song to the Moon, Elgar’s Nimrod and Fauré’s Pavane – to works by Einaudi, Nyman and Richter. And there has to be Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, as it suits the cello so well.
The Frenchman, playing a 1701 Matteo Gofriller instrument, is soloist on another four tracks including Monti’s Czardas and a jolly final track in Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer. He is accompanied by Jérôme Ducros, who is a fine pianist also featured on other tracks with the orchestra, as well as having orchestrated a majority of the works. These include Marguerite Monnot’s lovely Hymne à l’amour, one of her many songs written for Ếdith Piaf, that opens the album.
On April 19th 2019, Capuçon made a moving tribute on the pavement across the street from the famous Notre Dame de Paris cathedral as firemen attempted to subdue the disastrous fire that nearly destroyed the building. Like many French people he was deeply affected by what had happened, so for this album asked Maȋtrise de Notre Dame de Paris (a pre-college music school choir) to join him and the orchestra in performing Schubert’s Ave Maria.
The Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, conducted by Adrien Purrachon, gives support throughout the making of the disc that Capuçon describes as “tremendous”.
‘Emotions’ is an album to savour. For its concept, content, performance and playing-time it is one of my albums of the year – along with Bocelli, Desplat, The Kanneh-Masons, Mantovani & Calleja, Pourcel, Iain Sutherland, Williams, Willis and Wilson (all reviewed here) – and at the time of writing is available online for less than a tenner.
© Peter Burt 2020