History has its eyes on Christoph Koncz. Looking angelic at the age of nine, he played his heart out as the short-lived prodigy Kasper Weiss in François Girard’s moody classic The Red Violin (1998), lending charisma of his own to a soundtrack played by Joshua Bell. Fast forward to 2008, when at the shocking age of 20 Koncz took up duties as the principal second violin of the Vienna Philharmonic, a top-echelon day job around which he moonlights as soloist and conductor in ever-growing demand. As his latest passion project, he has recorded Mozart’s five violin concertos on Mozart’s baroque violin. Permission to touch this crown jewel of the collection at Mozart’s Birthplace is rarely granted. Ushered into its presence by invitation of the institution’s directors, Koncz astonished them by playing through the solo parts of all five Mozart violin concerti on the spot. But a violin seldom played is a Sleeping Beauty, slow to awaken (and fast to fall asleep again). Undaunted, Koncz kept coming back, setting the seal on this affair of the heart with a lovingly researched and prepared double CD on Sony Classical of this luminous repertoire with the original-instruments band Les Musiciens du Louvre. A performance in Salzburg on October 9 launched the release. Given the nimbus of the project, you perhaps imagine this runout concert to be the first stop on an extended international tour. But no. Mozart’s violin does not travel. From Cologne, the instrument returns back to Mozart’s Birthplace, there to remain on display indefinitely, unheard. —M.G.
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