France Aix-en-Provence Easter Pageant : Génération @ Aix – Carte Blanche à Renaud Capuçon: Members of Génération @ Aix, Renaud Capuçon (violin / director). Grand Théâtre de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, 16.4.2023. (CC)
Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G, BWV 1048 (1721); Concerto for Two Keyboards in C, BWV 1060 (1730s?)
Sollima – Violoncelles vibrez for 2 cellos and orchestra (model for six cellos, 1993)
Vivaldi – Concerto for 4 Violins, RV 549 / Op.3/1 (1711); Concerto for Two Violin and Strings in A minor, RV 522 (1711); Concerto for 4 Violins and strings, RV 580 (1711)
Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Pageant de Pâques at Aix-en-Provence, this was a outstanding acknowledgement of the forest of expertise that’s the Génération @ Aix scheme, which has supplied alternatives to quite a few younger artists since 2013. The Pageant describes the scheme in these phrases: ‘Annually, the Génération @ Aix live performance is a spotlight for festivalgoers because it showcases promising younger musicians, who’re destined for greatness, such because the cellists Edgar Moreau and Bruno Philippe or the viola participant Adrien La Marca, all of whom bought their begin right here. Génération @ Aix goals to deliver distinctive younger expertise along with internationally established musicians.’
And so, it was on the Grand Théâtre de Provence in a ultimate occasion led by Renaud Capuçon. Some names within the line-up are already acquainted: Alexandra Conunova , for instance, performed in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in Paris (the place she was additionally joined by one other of the members, pianist David Kadouch) and at London’s Barbican (the place the pianist was Elisabeth Brauss).
This programme of Baroque music, with an insert of a bit by Giovanni Sollima (born 1962) was excellent fare for 5pm on a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon. Acquainted are to start out, although with the collective concerto that’s Bach’s Third Brandenburg Concerto, the shortest of the six. Great to hearken to Capuçon within the solo passages in fact, and to listen to how effectively he interacted together with his colleagues; most spectacular, although, was the general steadiness and sound, and the way the ensemble performed along with an virtually telepathic sense. As Bach splits the ensemble into duos in addition to solos, it turned apparent that right here had been 9 string gamers, every of impeccable style and elegance, offering the very essence of chamber music. The ‘gradual motion’ was left on the Phrygian cadence Bach offers; the finale was positively bursting with invention, themes surfacing unstoppably. Bach’s harmonic plan was honoured to the letter, so the ratcheting up of pressure balanced completely with plateaux that appeared as if suspended, so mild was their supply. An excellent begin.
The shift to Giovanni Sollima’s 1993 piece, Violoncelles vibrez! was stark certainly. A single repeated word appears charged with energy and it’s instantly apparent we’re in a unique world. Two solo cellos – once more equally matched, right here Edgar Moreau and Julia Hagen– together with a ’tutti’ of six different cellos. The 2 soloists steadily take the identical or equal gesture and echo one another, in order that equivalence is important to the success of the efficiency. Listening to another obtainable performances, this Aix account appeared somewhat blunted; one got here away with the impression of a bit that was ’good’ versus vibrant, and the return of the opening in direction of the top, after all of the fervid exercise, misplaced a few of its emotional heft. All credit score to the soloists, however the general impression was of music dwarfed in stature by the music round it.
The Bach Concerto for 2 keyboards was performed on dealing with full Steinway live performance grands by Guillaume Bellom and David Kadouch. Strings had been 5:4:4:3:1, with double bass Lorraine Campet enthusiastically offering the firmest of foundations. If the general sound from the strings was a bit soupy within the first motion, Bellom it was who launched the central Adagio with a silken legato line; as that line blossomed by way of interplay between the pianos, the music appeared to open out miraculously. The motion closed with the sound of piano haloed by strings; how sturdy the distinction to the resolute onward staccato movement of the finale (Kadouch presumably a contact extra assertive than Bellom in his supply). The stunning, wealthy ultimate chord from the pianists sealed the deal; the strings within the outer actions performed with a scrumptious edge to the assault, excellent for this piece. A life-enhancing efficiency, and ideal to steer us into the interval.
Quick-forward half-an-hour and a trio of Vivaldi items awaited. Firstly, the Concerto in D, RV 549 (given within the programme as ’Concerto grosso’), delicate in its opening however the Allegro was nonetheless stuffed with incident (using a drone over which violins ‘riff’ is especially noteworthy). Wonderful work from all 4 violin soloists: Cosima Soulez Larivière, Emmanuel Coppey, Bilal Alnemr and Raphaëlle Moreau. Good programming too, as this balanced properly with the concluding Concerto for 4 Violins, RV 580.
For the intervening Double Concerto in A minor, RV 522, it was Conunova and Eva Zavaro who relished the considerably darkish energy of the primary motion. Conunova ’s violin sang superbly on the opening of the central Larghetto e spiritoso, joined quickly by intertwining traces from Zavaro; moments of excellent peace, underscored by a easy, decrease string line from the ripieno, creating completely fragile music. Pianissimos held the packed corridor to silence; the finale might hardly have been extra completely different, suffused with adrenalin. It’s a wild experience that calls for a lot of the soloists; Zavaro’s lengthy traces with Conunova ’s energetic tremolos a spotlight.
Lastly, the well-known Concerto for 4 Violins, RV 580: Capuçon, Mohamed Hiber, Manon Galy and Raphaëlle Moreau (at occasions the imitation extends to a solo cello. right here the superb Yan Levionnois). Hiber particularly confirmed the proper steadiness of impeccable approach with Vivaldian fashion. The opening tutti chords of the central Largo made fairly a mark within the venue itself (much less so within the arte.television relay); and the violin’s imitations of the following upward phrase exuded each power and integrity. This can be a fascinating motion: a passage of pure concord over repeated chords which got here throughout as proto-Minimalist, whereas the finale introduced not solely 4 equal soloists however 4 particular person however complementary personalities inside that. A really terrific efficiency.
Small surprise the viewers went nuts after it. The encore was Peter Heidrich’s Variations on ‘Pleased Birthday’, with variations that supplied a homage to Haydn, a homage to Beethoven, a variation within the Hungarian fashion, a variation referencing movie music, one within the fashion of Wagner. It’s a fabulous, compositionally virtuoso piece, playful (a Haydn Minuetto and Trio, a Strauss household waltz), however totally able to a minore variation and that Wagner (Siegfried Idyll) plus a fast journey to South America (with Kadouch and Bellom including a pleasant piano four-hands contact). A fast cadenza for Capuçon, together with a Rückblick to the 1990’s for the (in)well-known Nokia ringtone on violin, led to that hongroise that set the viewers all a-clap till the inevitable headlong accelerando in direction of the ultimate chords.
What a technique to have a good time (the encore was adopted by explosions of gold confetti and the viewers was invited without cost champagne afterwards).
The live performance is on the time of writing obtainable without cost viewing at arte.television at this hyperlink.
The 2023 Pageant de Pâques is devoted to the reminiscence of pianist Nicholas Angelich (1970-2022).
Full listing of performers: Renaud Capuçon, Alexandra Conunova, Bilal Alnemr, Emmanuel Coppey, Mohamed Hiber, Manon Galy, Raphaëlle Moreau, Cosima Soulez Larivière, Eva Zavaro (violins); Léa Hennino, Adrien La Marca, Manuel Vioque-Judde, Paul Zientara (violas); Julia Hagen, Olivia Homosexual, Florian Pons (changing an indisposed Anastasia Kobekina), Yan Levionnois, Edgar Moreau, Aurélien Pascal, Bruno Philippe, Maxime Quennesson (cellos); Lorraine Campet (double bass); Céline Frisch (harpsichord); Guillaime Bellom, David Kadouch, (pianos).