- Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
- Violin Concerto in D minor, WoO 23
In every way but one, the coupling of the violin concertos of Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann is perfect. As men, they were friends and, as composers, they were colleagues. Together they defined what it meant to be a German composer in the 1830s and 1840s. And while one would think that couplings of their violin concertos would be a staple of the classical recording industry, in fact, they are rarer than recordings of the "Opus Clavicembalisticum." And the reason for this is the inescapable fact that while Mendelssohn's "Violin Concerto" is the greatest work of its kind written after Beethoven and before Brahms, Schumann's "Violin Concerto" is one of the last and the least of the works of the composer as he succumbed to syphilitic insanity. Thus, in every way but one, this recording by violinist Renaud Capuçon with Daniel Harding conducting the Mahler Chamber Orchestra is successful. Capuçon has the technique and the temperament to play Mendelssohn's "Concerto" with heart and soul. Harding has the control and the command to accompany Capuçon without upstaging him. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra has the talent and tone to make every note of its accompaniment count. But there is nothing any of the players can do with the drab and dreary Schumann "Concerto" as it winds its weary way into madness. Virgin's sound places the performers in a small hall with the violinist standing just to the left of center and about 25 feet away.