Our November Recording of the Month is a pitch-perfect 4-CD set of Mozart’s mature sonatas for violin and piano by Renaud Capuçon and Kit Armstrong (DG 4864463). The two musicians first performed together in Salzburg in 2016, when Armstrong stood in for an indisposed Menahem Pressler. “After we had played these sonatas, we knew at once we wanted to record them,” says Capuçon, adding how with Armstrong, “everything works in a completely uncomplicated and natural way.”
“Capuçon and Armstrong sound joined at the hip in these works, which were not composed as violin sonatas in the manner we now understand them (violin showpiece with piano accompaniment). Rather, the opposite was the case; piano led and violin followed,” writes Lisa MacKinney. “Fascinatingly, this relationship begins to change in the later works. With the instruments trading places and bouncing phrases back and forth, Armstrong often seems on the verge of (quite gloriously) stealing the show with his lightning technique; nimble, precise, formidable. Capuçon’s tone is spaciously sinewy, expertly balancing airy delicacy with lyrical surges of intensity in a constant dance.” Four hours of sheer pleasure.