Oct. 9: Sony Classical releases the First Recording of Mozart’s Complete Violin Concertos on the Composer’s Original Violin
Christoph Koncz – Mozart’s Violin
First Recording of Mozart’s Complete Violin Concertos
on the Composer’s Original Violin
Christoph Koncz, violin & conductor
Les Musiciens du Louvre
New York, NY – For the first time, Mozart’s five Violin Concertos have been recorded on the composer’s own violin by Christoph Koncz, conductor and principal violinist of the Vienna Philharmonic. The third concerto’s Adagio movement is available now as a single and Sony Classical will release the full album on October 9, 2020.
Christoph Koncz became famous at the age of nine, when he starred as the child prodigy Kaspar Weiss in The Red Violin, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Score. In 2008, at the age of twenty, he was appointed principal second violin of the Vienna Philharmonic, a position he has held since. His musical partners include Leonidas Kavakos, Joshua Bell, Vilde Frang, Renaud Capuçon, Gautier Capuçon, Andreas Ottensamer and Rudolf Buchbinder.
Koncz was granted exclusive access to Mozart’s Violin by the Mozarteum Foundation, which has owned it since 1955.
Mozart wrote his five concertos in 1773 and 1775 for himself to play, as concertmaster of the Salzburg Court Orchestra. At the time, he was using the violin, made by the Klotz family as a copy of a Jacob Stainer instrument. “There’s a close connection between these concertos and this instrument,” says Koncz.
The violin has survived with remarkably little intervention, effectively retaining its original condition. Playing it for the first time in 2012 was “very moving and inspiring” for Koncz.
It became Koncz’s dream to record the Mozart concertos on the instrument, but he insisted on assembling the right team of musicians and undertaking painstaking research. He called on the period-instrument players of Les Musiciens de Louvre to record the works with the same forces Mozart used and to create the most “authentic experience as possible.” Thus, Koncz directed the works from the instrument as Mozart would have done, at the same pitch, in the same orchestral setting and according to historic performance practice with cadenzas in the composer’s own style. But the central message of the recording, says Koncz, is “the sound of the violin.”
The silvery tone in the instrument’s upper register may have influenced Mozart’s tendency to dwell on higher notes in the works. “In his violin concertos he was fond of using the instrument’s upper tessitura and coloratura register, which is where his violin sounds particularly beautiful,” says Koncz.
But the instrument has also opened Koncz’s ears and eyes to countless other attributes in these consistently enchanting concertos: their Italian stylistic features, their origins in baroque music and their singing, operatic qualities. He hopes his recording will “contribute to the way Mozart is understood and researched,” and inspire the listeners of today in its sincerity.
Playing anything on this priceless artifact is a challenge. The weight of the composer’s legacy and skill weighs heavily. But there are also two staff members of the Mozarteum Foundation present whenever the instrument is played. “Every time I practiced, there were always at least two people waiting for me to get better!” says Koncz.
ABOUT CHRISTOPH KONCZ
CONDUCTOR & VIOLINIST
Chief Conductor: Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss am Rhein since 2019
Principal Guest Conductor: Les Musiciens du Louvre
Christoph Koncz is rapidly establishing himself internationally as a conductor, having already enjoyed success as a violin soloist, chamber musician and a principal of the Vienna Philharmonic.
He made his conducting debut at the 2013 Salzburg Mozartwoche, which was rapidly followed by concerts at prestigious venues including the Berlin, Cologne and Munich Philharmonies, Vienna Konzerthaus and KKL Lucerne, as well as at the Salzburg Festival. Over the last few seasons he has also enjoyed a very close relationship with the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra.
Last season Koncz made his Concerto Köln debut at the Cologne Philharmonie and took the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal on tour in Canada with Brahms Symphony No.2. He made his US debut in 2017, conducting the Memphis Symphony in Schumann and also directing them from the violin in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.4.
As a violinist, Christoph Koncz made his North American debut aged twelve with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal conducted by Charles Dutoit, which led to collaborations with conductors such as Sir Neville Marriner, Dmitry Sitkovetsky and Gábor Takács-Nagy. But even earlier Koncz became famous at the age of nine, when he starred as the child prodigy Kaspar Weiss in The Red Violin, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Score.
In demand as a chamber musician, his musical partners include Leonidas Kavakos, Joshua Bell, Vilde Frang, Renaud Capuçon, Antoine Tamestit, Kim Kashkashian, Gautier Capuçon, Andreas Ottensamer and Rudolf Buchbinder.
In 2008, at the age of twenty, he was appointed principal second violin of the Vienna Philharmonic, a position he has held since.
For Christoph Koncz’s full biography, click here
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756–1791
The Concertos for Violin and Orchestra
Cadenzas: Christoph Koncz
Christoph Koncz, violin & direction
Les Musiciens du Louvre
1–3 Concerto No. 1 in B-flat major K 207
4–6 Concerto No. 2 in D major K 211
7–9 Concerto No. 3 in G major K 216
1–3 Concerto No. 4 in D major K 218
4–6 Concerto No. 5 in A major “Turkish” K 219