Gautier Capuçon and the Cello

“Gautier Capuçon and the Cello” is a dual musical portrait devoted to the unique relationship between a musician and his instrument.

“It took me several years to be able to tame it. Probably it would say the same thing about me,” cellist Gautier Capuçon says with a twinkle in his eye about his collaborative struggle with his instrument, which is more than 300 years old – a cello made by the Venetian stringed-instrument maker, or luthier, Matteo Goffriller in 1701.

The relationship between this exceptional cellist and his instrument could in some ways be compared to a marriage. Capuçon talks not only about the ferocity and multi-faceted opportunities of expression offered by almost all the cello parts in the repertoire, but also about the wilfulness and ambivalence between feminine and masculine idiosyncrasies. Parisian luthier Pierre Bathel, who regularly fine tunes the instrument, plays a substantial, sometimes intermediary, role in that respect: “He’s not only a luthier, but also a doctor, psychologist and friend.”

As a major musical work, Antonin Dvořák’s cello concerto takes centre stage in the film. To this day, it remains an unsurpassed classic of the romantic repertoire. For cellists, it’s not just any concerto, but the quintessential cello concerto. No one can escape its memorable melodies, its enormously symphonic climaxes, its gripping virtuosity and overwhelming emotionality. In Capuçon’s interpretation with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, conducted by Alan Gilbert in Hamburg, that becomes impressively clear.

First broadcasting date: 24.10.2021, 17:40h, ARTE

Written and directed by: Beatrix Conrad
Editor: Uli Peschke
Camera Operators: Paul Pflüger & Martin Kobold
Production Sound: David Ansalem Albertini & Hennig Jäger
Re-recording Mixer: Jörn Steinhoff
Commissioning Editor (NDR): Claudia Cellarius
Production Manager (NDR): Melanie Clausen
Production Manager (3B): Mária Géczi
Executive Producers: Bernhard von Hülsen, Maria Willer

A production by 3B-Produktion commissioned by NDR in association with ARTE.