MOZART The Violin Sonatas / Mutter, Orkis 4776318

. . . no other artist embraced the Mozart spirit as wholeheartedly as Mutter . . .

The Mozart violin sonatas ¿ the culmination of Mutter's ambitious project encompassing his major violin works ¿ bring out . . . the best . . . of her artistry . . . besides the unmistakable mastery of the violin playing itself, what's really impressive about Mutter's cycle is the variety of colour and character she manages to inject into the music . . . the last F major Sonata, K547 . . . is given a new lease of life by the unpretentious poetry Mutter draws from it. She is also a player who knows how to accompany the piano . . .

If Yo-Yo Ma is the reigning god of classical music, Anne-Sophie Mutter is the goddess. Everything she does is noteworthy, and the best is as good as classical music gets, like these four discs of Mozart's mature violin sonatas. This is chamber music as it is supposed to be: intelligent, emotional and sensuous. This set is now the best one available . . . These are no run-throughs by talented musicians: This is Mozart heart and soul. Orkis is no mere accompanist, either. He proves he is so attentive to the nuance of music, and with such a nimble touch, that he could, if he wanted, join the ranks of the best virtuosos. Mutter this year has recorded all the Mozart violin concertos and the piano trios and wraps up her project with this release, which proves that absolutely essential recordings can still be made.

There are many excellent recordings of Mozart's Violin Sonatas on disc to choose from, but Anne-Sophie Mutter's interpretations rise quickly to the top . . . Lambert Orkis's piano accompaniments are handsome and supportive throughout, and his work as a fortepianist pays off well. He has an ingratiating touch and really shines in K. 454 and K. 481, where the piano is given equal footing with the violin. There are almost four-and-a-half hours of music here, and all of it is beautifully performed.

. . . the tempos are generally well chosen and sustained, with moments of relaxation at witty pauses in a movement's progress, without a trace of sentimentality . . . it's a joy to hear them imitate each other's smallest inflexion . . . and occasionally of a plain line, is tactful when they choose to embellish; their feel for dynamics seems innate ¿ never an unduly loud forte, at times the most delicately breathed piano . . . There's wit as well as polished elegance aplenty in the phrasing, and Mutter's use of vibrato is sparing, never obtrusive . . . this is a rich and rewarding set, expertly recorded, with playing of supreme quality from both musicians: Lambert Orkis dominant in the numerous passages of most of the works where Mozart the keyboard virtuoso saw no call to limit his instrument's scope, and equally happy to provide sensitive, witty support when the violin is in the ascendancy. As for Anne-Sophie Mutter, there is not a trace of the much-fêted international star in these profound, unselfconsciously generous performances. This often undervalued repertory is here enriched by a new set that will give delight for years to come.

Sowohl Anne-Sophie Mutter, deren Klangfarbenvielfalt nachhaltig beeindruckt, als auch ihr Begleiter Lambert Orkis wirken hier äußerst präsent, musizieren mit Verve und wunderbarer Ruhe. Trotz bisweilen höchst raffinierter Phrasierungen wirkt ihr Spiel stets lebendig und spontan, ersteht der Kosmos der Mozart'schen Sonaten in all seiner Vielfalt.

. . . Ernst und Dringlichkeit dieser Interpretation stehen außer Frage . . . dass da ein beredtes Strömen und Singen und Jubeln und Klagen, eine große Vielfalt an Ausdruckscharakteren herauskommt -- es ist halt das Betriebsgeheimnis dieser Geigerin . . . Lambert Orkis schließlich ist ein ungemein zuverlässiger, musikalischer . . . "Begleiter" . . .

Noch immer beeindruckt die Leuchtkraft ihres Geigenspiels, kann sie die Kantilenen verführerisch aufblühen lassen. Dem geschmeidigen satten Ton ihrer Anfangsjahre hat sie jedoch seit ihrer Beschäftigung mit zeitgenössischer Musik eine ganze Palette weiterer Farben, von fahlen, beinahe flehend gehauchten Klängen bis zu scharfen und schneidenden Pfeiftönen, hinzugefügt.