The great Renaud Capuçon joins the world-class Orchestre de Paris at their home base in the Grande salle Pierre Boulez! Under the baton of the ensemble's next musical director, the prodigious Klaus Mäkelä, they interpret two longtime favorites by two Austrian masters of 20th-century music.
Capuçon begins the poignant program with Berg's Violin Concerto, dedicated "to the memory of an angel": Manon Gropius, daughter of Alma Mahler (then the widow of Gustav), who died of polio at just 18. The moving work comprises two movements, representing the girl's childhood and untimely death.
The orchestra then moves on to a work by Manon's father, Gustav Mahler. In February 1901, he fell ill and nearly died, and his subsequent work would reflect the harrowing experience, with his symphonies becoming darker—the Fifth, indeed, famously begins with a heartbreaking funeral march. But a glimmer of hope pervades the work, even in the somber early movements: the composer did indeed recover, and a few months later met his future wife Alma Schindler. At the end of the symphony, the skies clear, joy erupts in the final measures, and life continues its course.
Photo: Klaus Mäkelä © Mathias Benguigui