Werke von / Works by
Beethoven · Brahms · Gershwin
Kreisler · Massenet · Mozart
Previn · Sarasate · Vivaldi
Orkis · Previn · Trondheim Soloists
London Philharmonic Orchestra · New
York Philharmonic · Wiener Philharmoniker
Masur · Levine
Int. Release 01 Oct. 2007
1 CD + 1 DVD
1 CD + 1 DVD DDD 0289 477 7166 1 GH 2
Anne-Sophie Mutter presents her first highlights album in more than a decade
. . . gerade Mozarts Violinkonzerte waren es, mit deren tief greifender Auseinandersetzung sich Mutter . . . auch ihren unwiderruflichen Ruf als exzellente Interpretin manifestierte. Hier trübt nichts die Perfektion des Klanges, die reine Harmonik, die wohlgesetzten Proportionen versprühen `mozartianische¿ Grazie. Tiefster Ausdruck innerster Empfindungen evoziert Anne Sophie Muter dann mit glasklarer Intonation und seidigem Timbre bei Jules Massenets Méditation und Kreislers Liebeslied. Die aufbrausende Interpretation des Ungarischen Tanz Nr. 6 von Johannes Brahms changiert zwischen Leidenschaft und ergreifender Schwermut und spielt gekonnt, durch überraschende Tempowechsel und nuancierte, dynamische Schattierungen, mit den Klischees der ungarischen Volksmusik ohne dabei ins rustikal Derbe abzugleiten . . . [Saraste]: Seine Carmenfantasie op. 25, dank Mutter selbst im höchsten Flageolett hochvirtuos perlend, frei von populistischen Virtuosenschmalz vorgetragen, bildet den krönenden Abschluss der gelungenen Zusammenstellung. Klanglich ohne Makel, liefert die `Deutsche Grammophon¿ eine in sich stimmige CD, die man gerne in den Händen hält, nicht zuletzt wegen des edlen Digipack mit informativem und bebildertem Booklet.
. . . das Adagio aus Mozarts fünftem Violinkonzert . . . ist eines der hervorragenden Stücke des Albums . . ., weltvergessen dargeboten, fast unerträglich schön. Die ersten Violinen des London Philharmonic Orchestra . . . singen wie auf einer Seite. Mutters Einsatz kommt stecknadelspitzenklar, ihr Ton strahlt und zittert vor Klang und Leben. Er wird den ganzen Satz über etwas Sehrend-Süßes haben, die gesamte Darbietung etwas so bedächtig Ausgekostetes . . . Die Interpretationen sind vorbildlich . . .
Passion and simplicity are the key words in Anne-Sophie Mutter's music-making. At the start of her career that still meant a passionate pleasure in speed and in her own technical abilities, as required for the virtuoso concertos of Paganini and Wieniawski. It was her detailed exploration of the violin concertos of Mozart that made her less responsive to the purely technical exhibitionism of those bravura works. “If you take an early interest in the multi-layered nature of music as well as in the partnership between soloist and orchestra, then you miss this in works that are superficially virtuosic," says Anne-Sophie Mutter in explaining what collaborative performance means to her. In virtuoso concertos the soloist is always tempted to indulge in navel-gazing, whereas Anne-Sophie Mutter takes particular pleasure in engaging in a real dialogue with the other players. “Herbert von Karajan taught me to immerse myself in these scores. He showed me from a bird's-eye perspective where the violin is located and how it fits into the orchestra, but above all how wonderful it is when a violin solo grows out of an oboe solo and you try to shade your playing in such a way that a genuine partnership emerges."
Time and again Anne-Sophie Mutter returns to the key works of the repertoire. Among these works are not only Mozart's violin concertos but also Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, which she played under Herbert von Karajan to inaugurate the Chamber Music Hall at Berlin's Philharmonie. “Vivaldi interests me because he experimented with tone colours at such an early date. I've tried to establish a link with contemporary painting as this is a work that offers musicians endless scope to display their whole range of tone colours. It is really a tone poem in which I try to tell a story with my instrument."
Needless to add, Anne-Sophie Mutter has also engaged with the insights of the early-music movement, although she is not dogmatic on this or any other point. Ultimately, music comes to life only in the here and now, always having to be rediscovered with the resources available to us today. That is why she regularly discovers new details each time she revisits apparently familiar works. Although this does not always lead to radically new views of a piece, decisive elements continue to evolve on a micro-structural level, in that way tapping into a deeper level of emotion. “There are many approaches to a score. What is crucial is that you don't presume that you know everything about a work merely because you've been playing it for 20 years. Of course, it is very important to assimilate the music, but what matters most of all is to re-experience the piece as a living organism through a process akin to improvisation, so that my interpretation strikes the audience, too, as compelling."
Violinists have regularly worked closely with composers. Composers have asked if their ideas are performable, and soloists have made numerous changes and improvements. Until 2006 Anne-Sophie Mutter was married to the American composer, conductor and pianist André Previn, and he too has written works such as Tango Song and Dance for her. Their work together was never complicated, she explains: “In the mid-90s, when he wrote Tango Song and Dance, he was very cautious and asked me if he should make any allowances as a composer. But I have always lived my life according to the motto: taking great risks can result in great fun and enrichment. I myself never interfered in the active process of composition."
Other composers, too, have been inspired by the technical brilliance and profound artistic understanding of Anne-Sophie Mutter's playing and have written works for her, one of the best known being Wolfgang Rihm's violin concerto Gesungene Zeit, which she premiered in 1992. This encounter with new worlds of sound has also changed her perception of the Classical and Romantic repertoire. To discover links between the new and the familiar, between music and the visual arts or literature is also important to her in her work with young artists. “I sometimes go to museums with the scholarship holders from my Foundation and show them the French Impressionists if they are playing the Debussy Sonata. It is not just a question of technical mastery, which I take for granted. Any significant artist must develop a comprehensive sense of style, and this emerges not just from studying scores."
In the past, conductors, too, were happy to take on this role as mentors, but it is now increasingly difficult to instil in them any enthusiasm for the task. Karajan regarded it as one of his great challenges in life and always invited his young protégée to attend his opera rehearsals so that she could expand her artistic horizons. James Levine and Kurt Masur are two other conductors of the older school with whom Anne-Sophie Mutter is always happy to work. “Maestro Masur is absolutely implacable and utterly serious, and so he can achieve incredible results with an orchestra in the shortest possible time. He inspires us all, so that orchestras are tremendously keen to follow him in whatever he does. At the actual concert he then allows us musicians all the freedom we need to take flight with the music." Time and again enthusiastic members of the audience come up to her after the concert and tell her that it is music alone that makes their lives worth living. But Anne-Sophie Mutter always modestly reminds them that she did not write these masterpieces and is merely acting as the composer's servant.
She would like her listeners to be moved and emotionally affected by what she plays and would also like to help people to overcome the inhibitions that they may still feel towards classical music. And if this music gives pleasure to both performer and listener, so much the better. And what better way of achieving this aim than through arrangements of popular operatic melodies such as Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy, which not only appeals to audiences but represents a challenge to the performer. “Songs and dances are the starting point of all music," says Anne-Sophie Mutter, “and here they have been made accessible to our instrument by great virtuosos. It is immensely enjoyable to get caught up in this music. In this way I try to keep the spark of curiosity alive and give pleasure to an audience that takes on the risk, however small, of attending a concert."