DVORAK Violin Concerto / Anne-Sophie Mutter


Violin Concerto
Violinkonzert op. 53

Mazurek op. 49
Romance op. 11
Humoresque op. 101 No. 7
Anne-Sophie Mutter
Berliner Philharmoniker
Manfred Honeck
Int. Release 25 Oct. 2013
1 CD / Download
0289 479 1060 2
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Antonín Dvo?ák (1841 - 1904)
Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 53, B. 108

Anne-Sophie Mutter, Berliner Philharmoniker, Manfred Honeck

8 Humoresques, Op. 101, B. 187

Anne-Sophie Mutter, Ayami Ikeba

Gesamtspielzeit: 55:03

The chemistry between soloist and orchestra is very much present . . . And the performances vividly capture the colour, melancholy and folklore-tinged tunefulness that are Dvorák's trademark.

. . . a bravura performance of the Violin Concerto in A Minor whose opening "Allegro ma non troppo" illustrates the strengths of her technique and approach. The dramatic opening alternates bursts of declamatory orchestration with solo flourishes of thrilling intensity and fiery gypsy spirit, Mutter's piercing vibrato lending a will-o'-the-wisp quality to the passage, as notes seem to hang, trembling, in the air. Of the supporting pieces, "Mazurek" dances along dizzily, as in a dreamlike fantasia, while "Humoresque" is treated in initially tentative but increasingly impassioned manner, as if a memory captured on the very cusp of wistfulness.

Anne-Sophie Mutter¿s virtuosity and dazzling technique liberate her to give full vent to poignancy and passion in her debut recording of Dvorák¿s violin music with the Berlin Philharmonic . . . [an] exciting rendition of Dvorák's Violin Concerto in A minor opus 53 with its fiery czardas like themes played with an intensity and an abandon that could only be borne of complete technical mastery and an intimate understanding of the composer and his style . . . [Mazurek / Romance / Humeresky]: Mutter's playing is focussed and dramatic throughout these cameos. The shorter, more whimsical nature of these pieces allows for well deserved relaxation in momentum after the intensity and thrill of the concerto. This recording offers consistency and the luxury of sinking into the music of one composer, performed superbly by one soloist and orchestra. A treasure of a CD.

Anne-Sophie Mutter has developed into an artist of striking and controversial individuality . . . a violinist of remarkable technical ability whose interpretations stem from a sincere engagement with the work, and the ability to get exactly the results that she intends. This performance of Dvorák's Violin Concerto is a case in point, and I have no issue acclaiming it as the finest version yet to appear outside of the classic Czech tradition. Mutter treats the work in the grand style, turning in a performance of bold gestures, hugely contrasted in tone, tempo, and dynamics. She's assisted in no small degree by Manfred Honeck, a conductor of genius who plays the accompaniment for all it's worth, with the Berlin Philharmonic sounding magnificently committed . . . Listen to Honeck attack the opening gesture, and to Mutter's big, husky tone and wide range of dynamics . . . Mutter also has a habit, very noticeable in the slow movement, of beginning a soft phrase non-vibrato and then adding quite a bit later on, and in less sensitive hands this could turn into a mannerism -- but not here. It's all a function of a heightened expressivity that typifies her approach to the music, and when the melodies themselves are so full of feeling it works extremely well. It's also important not to get the impression that the performance is in any way droopy or sloppily self-indulgent. The finale is one of the friskiest and rhythmically sharp on disc (Honeck and Berlin stupendous here), with a coda that truly does offer the last word in physical excitement . . . the love that she radiates has its roots firmly in the musical phrase, and in her joy in the work. The couplings are also marvelous, and so very intelligent: Dvorák's remaining pieces for violin and orchestra. The Romance is made to sound touchingly profound, the Mazurek simply a blast from start to finish, and the Humoresque, in Kreisler's arrangement with piano, surprisingly delicate and witty. Ayami Ikeba provides sensitive keyboard support in this last item . . . Mutter truly "speaks" through her instrument, and what she says sheds an entirely new light on Dvorák, and repays the closest attention.

Throughout the Concerto and in the accompanying works for violin and Orchestra, Anne-Sophie Mutter's playing is never less than dazzling.

[Violin Concerto]: The playing is fabulous: Mutter's tone glistens, thrilling in full flight, limpid, warm and beguiling in intimate musings. The slow movement, where intimate musings are prescribed, gets its own moments of added magical introspection before the joyous dances of the finale burst forth, crisp, full of colour and detail . . . this is a terrific performance, with the violinist at her imperious best -- as of course is the Berlin Philharmonic, whose wind players are a constant delight. Mutter gives a fine lyrical account of the Romance . . . The recording is excellent, warm and balanced.

. . . the great violinist has never sounded more in command. As just one example: The creamy style with which she handles the double-stopped passages in the first movement has to be heard to be believed. Overall, her control of nuance and color is like having the printed score come to life before your eyes. Mutter opens her heart completely in a magical reading of the slow movement before closing with a darting, quick finale, like a Shakespearian fairy tale, excising out the "ma non troppo" from the "Allegro giocoso" to incandescently good effect. The Berlin Philharmonic matches Mutter in sheer virtuosity and brilliantly delivers the fierce challenge to the soloist that opens the piece. Conductor Manfred Honeck authoritatively keeps each of the opposing forces from overwhelming the other. In addition to the Violin Concerto, Mutter spins out the Romance in F minor, Op. 11, along long, transcendental lines . . . Fritz Kreisler's syrupy arrangement of the once iconic Humoresque, Op. 101 (with pianist Ayami Ikeba), brings up the rear with restrained Technicolor flair. An audiophile recording of both power and delicacy captures the great Berlin Philharmonic at its industrial-strength best in ideally natural balance with Mutter.

. . . a smashing disc of violin music by Mutter and some of the best.

Very few recordings I've heard in recent months have given me as much pleasure as this one . . . [the Violin Concerto requires] a forceful soloist, a demanding conductor and a cooperative orchestra. We have all three on this new recording and together they make this work come to life as never before in my experience . . . [Mutter has] given us the performance we have been waiting for . . . [one can] detect the unusual care taken by the artists themselves to listen to each other and to really collaborate . . . [the first movement] is chamber music and Mutter and the Berlin Philharmonic players make it sound incredibly beautiful . . . [Honeck] brings out myriad details in the orchestration that other conductors overlook and elicits crisp and energetic playing from the orchestra. All the performances on this CD, which is filled out with other Dvorák works for violin and orchestra, are first-rate. An added bonus is an exquisite performance of the well-known "Humoresque" . . .

. . . [Anne-Sophie Mutter] beweist strotzende Vitalität -- auch in ihrer jüngsten Aufnahme . . . sie bleibt wenig schuldig . . . Geblieben ist die faszinierende Präsenz und Gestaltungskraft der Geigerin, gerade in Dvoráks schwindelerregendem Volkstanz-Finale.

Mit hinreißender Impulsivität, musikantischer Frische und einer atemberaubenden Fülle an Klangfarben spielt Anne-Sophie Mutter Dvoráks viel zu selten gehörtes Violinkonzert . . . Anne-Sophie Mutter führt zugunsten dieses unterschätzten Meisterwerks nicht nur effektsicher die große virtuose Geste ins Feld, leuchtende Spitzentöne, den großen gesanglichen Bogen und mitreißende musikantische Energie: Zum Herzstück und inneren Höhepunkt des Werks macht sie den langsamen Satz. Die Klangpalette, die sie hier ihrer Stradivari entlockt, ist schier grenzenlos. Da gibt es innige und leidenschaftliche, raue und süße, glockenhelle und kehlige Töne, das Vibrato kennt unzählige Schattierungen bis hin zu gläsern-zerbrechlichen, absolut senza Vibrato gespielten Passagen. Manfred Honeck und die Berliner Philharmoniker . . . sind ebenso klanggewaltige wie sensible Begleiter, satt und füllig im Ton, dunkel timbriert . . . [die berühmte Humoreske] gelangt ohne Umweg ins Herz des Hörers.

. . . kammermusikalisches Musizieren vom Feinsten! . . . Honeck hat ein Feuer aus den Funken entfacht, die Dvoráks Musik zwischen Mutter und den Berliner Philharmonikern auslöste -- mit einem sehr eigenen Sinn für eine gemeinsame Erdung der Klänge und einem großen Raum für die künstlerische Freiheit des Einzelnen.

Hier gibt es kein Pardon, niemand schenkt dem Partner etwas, doch dabei geht es nie um die Demonstration von Überlegenheit, sondern stets um herzliche Verbundenheit: Alle wollen sich von ihrer besten Seite zeigen, alle kämpfen für Dvorák, jeder mit seinen Mitteln. Das Ergebnis überwältigt schlichtweg: Auch weil die Philharmoniker keinen flauschigen Teppich ausbreiten, sondern ein herb-wildes Gemälde malen, vor dem sich die Solistin fabelhaft abhe bt. Manfred Honeck am Pult balanciert die Dynamik exzellent aus. Vor allem aber ist dieses Stück wie für Anne-Sophie Mutter komponiert. Sie kann hier nach Herzenslust auftrumpfen, weinen, kokettieren, glühen . . . was die Deutsche in den Ecksätzen an geigerischer Extraklasse, an Doppelgriffen, die wie brennende Laserschwerter durchs Orchester fahren, und an furios anspringendem Temperament ausgießt, das ist phänomenal. Ihre schönste Platte seit Langem. Was sicher auch an Karajans Enkeln im Orchester liegt.

Dass Anne-Sophie Mutter nach wie vor eine der größten Geigerinnen der Welt ist, steht ebenso außer Frage wie die technische Überlegenheit, die sie auf ihrem Instrument bereits seit Jugendtagen beweist. Es scheint, als könne sie fast jede klangliche Nuance aus der Geige herausholen, die Brillanz ihrer Triller -- nur als Beispiel -- ist atemberaubend . . . Auftrumpfend energisch in den Ecksätzen, demonstriert Anne-Sophie Mutter besonders im letzten Teil, was überragende Virtuosität auf der Geige ausmacht. Der Schützenhilfe ihrer [Philharmoniker] . . . darf sie gewiss sein, und man ist beeindruckt . . . [eine] nicht nur aus historischen Gründen [empfehlenswerte CD] . . .

. . . [Dvorák / Violin Concerto]: [Mutter kostet den Anfang] mit deklamierender Deutlichkeit aus, keine Frage, das hohe E und das hohe A strahlen bei ihr dann triumphal . . . [beim DVD-Live-Mitschnitt] lassen sich Spannung und Anspannung der Beteiligten fast mit Händen greifen . . .