From the start, violinist Renaud Capuçon and pianist Khatia Buniatishvili have had a musical relationship that was utterly natural.
The virtuosos, performing together in San Francisco for the first time this week in a Chamber Music San Francisco presentation, are playing a program featuring César Franck's Violin Sonata. The melodic, sensuous, light-filled piece has special meaning for them.
“Khatia and I met over Franck’s sonata,” Capuçon, 39, says. “This is the sonata that sealed our musical partnership, the sheer joy of playing together.”
The concert also features other works from their 2014 recording “Franck, Grieg, Dvorak: Sonatas for Violin & Piano,” which, according to liner notes, is a “delectable program of Romantic sonatas for violin and piano – all, extraordinarily, composed within a year in 1886-87.”
The pair first met at Verbier's famous summer festival in Switzerland, where Capucon was on the faculty, and Buniatishvili was attending a master class. Piano legend Martha Argerich, Capuçon’s frequent duo partner and Buniatishvili’s mentor, brought them together as performers.
Buniatishvili, 27, originally from Tbilisi, Georgia, has been concertizing all around Europe and the U.S., including appearances in recital in The City and as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony.
Among his many honors, Capuçon (whose brother is cellist Gautier Capuçon) was named instrumental soloist of the year in 2005 by the French organization Victoires de la musique classique. His instrument is the 1737 Guarnerius that belonged to Isaac Stern.
Married to Laurence Ferrari, former anchorwoman for a French TV network, Capuçon’s musical partnership with Buniatishvili remains steady.
When asked if it has evolved over the years, Buniatishvili says, “We met as two souls who already knew each other. We never had to change our natural collaboration, never had a problem.”
Sunday’s concert also includes Dvorák's “Four Romantic Pieces” and Edvard Grieg's Sonata No. 3 in C minor, the most popular of the composer’s three sonatas, and one of his personal favorites. Accompanied by violinist Adolf Brodsky, Grieg played piano at the 1887 premiere of the work, which is built on Norwegian folk melodies.
IF YOU GO
Renaud Capuçon and Khatia Buniatishvili
Presented by Chamber Music San Francisco
Where: Marines’ Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St., S.F.
When: 3 p.m. Feb. 15
Tickets: $39 to $53
Contact: (415) 392-4400, www.ChamberMusicSF.org