Renaud Capuçon (violin) - Brussels Philharmonic, Stephane Denève
Erato 190295633936 (76:17)

Having already established that nowadays new recordings of 'our kind of music' are almost as rare as the proverbial hens' teeth, it makes this album all the more welcome.

The consummate French classical virtuoso Renaud Capuçon (born 1976), who is also International Chair in violin at our Royal Northern College of Music, has long wanted to make a disc of his favourite film music, including some from his own country, and here are no fewer than 19 tracks for our delight. He is very well supported in evoking the magic of these movies by the Brussels Philharmonic – disabusing those who claim that nothing good can come out of that city – under the baton of their French music director Stephane Denève, who held the same position with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra from 2005 to 2012.

Alongside old favourites like Ennio Morricone's 'The Mission': Gabriel's Oboe, John Williams' 'Schindler’s List', Henry Mancini's, 'Breakfast at Tiffany's': Moon River, Nino Rota's 'The Godfather': Love Theme, and Michel Legrand's 'Summer of '42', there are treasurable themes from a line-up of big-name composers: John Barry, Georges Delerue, Alexandre Desplat, James Horner, Maurice Jarre, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

The back of the digipak tells us that the French pop singer-songwriter Nolwenn Leroy "participates" on Bob Telson's 'Bagdad Café': Calling You. Among other less familiar items, I especially enjoyed Nicola Piovani's music for 'Life is Beautiful', a highly-rated 1997 Italian comedy-drama, and Vladimir Cosma's for 'The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe', the 1972 story of a hapless orchestra player who becomes an unwitting pawn of rival factions within the French secret service.

In his thoughtful liner notes, M Capuçon praises Cyrille Lehn and Daniel Cappellietti for their transcriptions of a variety of pieces not originally written for the violin.

I presume we would all agree with maestro Denève that "great melody is the holy grail of music", and you will certainly find much to bring you happiness in this lovely well-filled album, which is undoubtedly one of my discs of the year.

Peter Burt © 2018

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