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Mozart’s Concert Violin


Stiftung Mozarteum / Salzburg / Music

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 tender 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, recorded with the original-instruments band Les Musiciens du Louvre. This performance in Salzburg launches the release. Given the nimbus of the project, one might expect an extended international tour. But no. Mozart’s violin does not travel. After a single runout concert in Cologne on October 18, Mozart’s violin returns to its Salzburg display case, there to remain indefinitely, asleep once more. —M.G.

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