From Back to Strauss the French classical music star tells us about the musical pieces that mean the most
Soundtrack to my life: 5 songs that influenced French violinist Renaud Capucon
Renaud Capucon has warm memories of his Abu Dhabi performance last year – the French violinist, 42, was cooling his heels in freezing Iceland when he spoke to us before his world tour arrives in the capital as part of Abu Dhabi Classics.
Capucon, who will be playing as part of the Camerata Salzburg orchestra on Friday at Emirates Palace, says he is looking forward to kicking off the new season of concerts, and to playing to a crowd hungry for classical music. “I always take time to come to Abu Dhabi,” he says. “There is a deep interest in the music there because, unlike New York or Berlin, where they have 10 orchestras or so in each city, Abu Dhabi is still growing. Because of that, the crowd appreciate it and are very enthusiastic about the music.”
Here, Capucon takes us through the music that inspired his career.
A song that reminds me of my childhood: Piano Trio No.1 by Johannes Brahms
I was six or seven years old and I was at home in Chambery in France. To this day this piece gives me a very warm feeling and great comfort. It’s technically brilliant, but very smooth and provides me a sense of peace in my busy life.
A song that made me want to perform: Violin Concerto by Beethoven
I was still in my home town when I heard this. I was around 13 years old. I was young and when I heard it, it just felt like a beautiful piece of pure music. I was already interested in classical music at the time, particularly the works coming from Germany. What caught my attention about this piece is how the composition all works together. There is a great dialogue with the orchestra and I wanted to get involved in this conversation.
A composer who influenced my career: Bach and Mozart
It was these two equally. I would say Bach, because he’s the father of it all when it comes to classical music. He invented everything, and we kind of owe him everything. And Mozart because he’s a genius and I will play his concertos in Abu Dhabi. It is always fun and a big challenge to play Mozart because his works make you feel like a beginner all the time. You have to make it sound like it’s the first time you heard it, and his works are difficult to play simply. When you take on Mozart, that’s the challenge, you learn very hard to play them as simply as possible. It’s never easy.
A piece I wish I’d written: Partita for Violin No 2 by Bach
It is so perfect and so ominous, and like what I said about Bach, he is the composer that gave us the foundation that our kind of music is built on. It is beautifully put together and difficult to play.
A song that makes me cry: Metamorphosen by Strauss
This piece was written after the Second World War and it’s a very deep work of 25 minutes. It’s expressive and, to me, it tells you the story of a life. It is not sad, but I find it powerful and so full of emotions that it does make me cry. I believe it can also have an effect on anyone. Musician or not, the piece is strong enough to inspire a feeling within you.