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In Tempus Praesens

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1. Bach: Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041 - I. Allegro moderato
2. Bach: Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041 - II Andante
3. Bach: Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041 - III Allegro assai
4. Bach: Concerto in E major, BWV 1042 - I. Allegro
5. Bach: Concerto in E major, BWV 1042 - II Adagio
6. Bach: Concerto in E major, BWV 1042 - III Allegro assai
7. Gubaidulina: In tempus praesens, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
By RSProds - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Five INSPIRING Stars!! BRILLIANT!! With the possibility of retirement taken off the table, Anne-Sophie Mutter, the brilliant Grammy-winning virtuoso violinist, seems to be back with an artistic vengeance presenting a program that bridges both her love of traditional and contemporary classical music. She revisits works by Bach which she recorded in her youth and performs the world premier recording of a five movement work which famed Russian contemporary composer Sofia Gubaidulina dedicated to Ms Mutter. Her performances are absolutely superb and inspiring. Her artistic choices are ably supported by Norway's famed Trondheim Soloists (TrondheimSolistene) with whom she has toured and the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of maestro Valery Gergiev. Ms Mutter uses a baroque-style bow (but no gut strings) and tightly controlled left-hand dynamics on the Bach concertos to achieve "transparency of sound and also the capacity to use Bach's original phrasing". Based on this recording, she succeeds wonderfully.

It has been over 20 years since Ms Mutter recorded the two Bach concerti and now she clearly demonstrates her changed attitude and "new ideas". Likewise, it has been almost a decade since Ms Mutter recorded the heralded Vivaldi: The Four Seasons/Tartini: The Devil's Trill with the Trondheim Soloists and the relationship, based on touring with them prior to this recording, produces a wonderfully cohesive sound and interplay on both Bach pieces. The 'pieces de resistance' of Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor are the wonderous beauty of the Andante and the Allegro assai movements. Similarly, the Adagio and Allegro assai of No 2 are of exceptional splendor. The performance of Ms Gubaidulina's dense and intense 32 minute "In tempus praesens" (In The Present Time) is soaring and emotional reflecting influences of both the Russia of her past and our modern day insecurities in her concerto without the conventional "hero" (soloist). Ms Mutter's blazing bow-work produces intense, incandescent beauty and force. The five movements are performed as one continuous passionate piece. Anne-Sophie Mutter, maestro Gergiev and the LSO, using unusual instrumentation, give this magnificent work the grandeur and angst it deserves. This is a CD of outstanding performances of great works. Kudos to all concerned. My Highest Recommendation. Five IMPRESSIVE Stars. (This review is based on an MP3 download. There is also both a CD and limited-edition hard bound CD package available.)
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
"In tempus praesens" -- a triumph for Sofia and Anne-Sophie! 7 Dec. 2008
By Autonomeus - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"I am a religious person...and by 'religion' I mean re-ligio, the re-tying of a bond...restoring the legato of life. Life divides man into many pieces...There is no weightier occupation than the recomposition of spiritual integrity through the composition of music." --Sofia Gubaidulina

"In tempus praesens" (2007 -- 32'45) is an absolutely stunning new violin concerto. Promised long ago to Anne-Sophie Mutter by Sofia Gubaidulina, it was finally finished in 2006/2007, and premiered at the Lucerne Festival in August 2007, performed by Mutter and the Berlin Philharmoniker with Simon Rattle conducting. For this premiere recording Valery Gergiev leads the London Symphony Orchestra. The now 77-year-old composer has been intimately involved in both of these premieres, supervising the rehearsals and insuring that her vision is conveyed.

"In tempus praesens" features a nearly unbroken solo line, a virtuoso vehicle for Mutter and surely many others to come. Though seemingly depicting a spiritual journey like her first violin concerto Offertorium (1980 -- 35'34 -- see my review), this new piece presents the soloist with less orchestral accompaniment, perhaps more purely. The orchestra menaces periodically, but not with as much vehemence as in the earlier work. And if the ending is not entirely unambiguous, the radiant rising tones of the violin nonetheless sound victorious. For Gubaidulina music always conveys a deep spiritual significance and, no matter how much she has been influenced by Webern, there is always a clear meaning to every note -- though there are no lyrics, this is not abstract, non-representational music. There are tones for good (generally high and major key), and for evil (generally low and minor key). An Orthodox Christian, her vision is practically Zoroastrian in its binary purity -- Light versus Darkness.

The two Sophies, Sofia and Anne-Sophie, seem to see it as natural to include violin concertos by Bach along with Gubaidulina, as Bach is a major influence on the Russian/Tatar composer. However, the music does not sound at all similar, structural or harmonic influences notwithstanding. It seems more likely to me that this was a marketing decision -- Bach will clearly outsell Gubaidulina, and so more people will probably buy this as a Mutter disc, or a Mutter/Bach disc than as a Gubaidulina or Mutter/Gubaidulina disc-with-Bach-thrown-in like me. On the bright side, this may mean that Sofia gains more listeners than she would otherwise. But we can still regret that Anne-Sophie did not record a new performance of "Offertorium" for this DG release.

As for the Bach concertos, they sound great. The melodies are instantly recognizable, some of the most memorable in all of classical music. Both of these works were later turned into keyboard concertos by Bach as well -- the recordings by Murray Periahia and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields of the "Concerto No. 3 in D Major" (Violin Concerto for E Major) and "Concerto No. 7 in G Minor" (Violin Concerto in A Minor) are sparkling and wonderful (Bach: Keyboard Concertos Nos. 3, 5, 6, 7).

All in all, one of the classical recording events of the year!
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A great new violin concerto 18 Oct. 2008
By Oldnslow - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The Gubaiadulina concerto is magnificant, as is Mutter's playing and Gergiev and the LSO. I have listened to this work about half a dozen times now and am more impressed every time I hear it. One continuous piece that contains about every aspect of violin playing one could ask for, with a lean, but brilliant orchestration (the use of percussion is striking and very effective). Kudos to Mutter to learn such a demanding piece. Bravo!
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Best Bach Violin Concertos recording ever made 5 Jan. 2009
By Perry Clark - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Yes, it's quite a claim. And yes, there's lots of room for argument. But, being an aficionado of Bach, classical violin, and JSB's violin concertos in particular, I'm willing to put my nickel down on Ms. Mutter's recording, especially of the A minor concerto.

From the opening notes, the piece is played with a sureness that never wavers, but doesn't play it as if strength was the most important quality. There's more body--and soul--in Mutter's version than in any other I've heard, and it successfully elevates the listener to the plane Bach intended. Mutter conducting as well as playing is no doubt key to the achievement. The A minor concerto simply cannot be played better than it is here, and the accompanying work by the Trondheim Soloists is magnificent.

The E Major concerto is just as sure and deft, but slightly less free and full than the A minor. Still stellar, it doesn't--by the barest of margins--maintain the coherence that Mutter and accompanists achieve in the A minor piece.

The disc concludes with the first-ever recording of Sophia Gubaidulina's "In tempus praesens", written by the Russian-living-in-Germany Gubaidulina as a work commissioned for Mutter. Written in 2006-07 after having been commissioned in the '80s, and first performed only in 2007, I believe, Mutter and the London Symphony, conducted by Valery Gergiev, here give an inspired performance of the the work. Gubaidulina is said to be highly inspired by Bach, and equally religious, and the work grows organically in a progression of struggle between good and evil as well as fate and free will. In five movements, the listener experiences the battle and feels the possibility of loss and defeat before finally having the sweet high of triumph.

Although allegedly inspired by Bach, the piece by Gubaidulina is decidedly modern, and only the faintest echoes of the baroque master are to be found. Though so decidedly different from the old and familiar Bach concertos, the Gubaidulina succeeds surprisingly well in this context.

If one is at all appreciative of Bach, this recording will reward the listening effort with art unsurpassed, and the experience of the culminating commissioned work by Gubaidulina is uniquely sweet. Mutter has with this established herself as one of the all-time masters.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
An elegant concerto, but Gubaidulina might just be stuck in a rut 4 Jun. 2009
By Christopher Culver - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This Deutsche Grammophon disc from 2008 pairs two composers through performances of their violin concertos by Anne-Sophie Mutter. For the Bach, Mutter performs with the Tronheim Soloists in a modern style with a couple of period techniques, while the Gubaidulina concerto features the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev.

Sofia Gubaidulina's Violin Concerto No. 2 "In tempus prasens" (2007) is a well-made concerto with a clear dramatic line. This is the sort of concerto where the soloist and orchestra are continously in opposition, and the conclusion it leads to is remarkably fresh. But too much of the concerto feels like a retread of earlier music from Gubaidulina for me to be especially wowed. It's hard to nail down an exact border between having a distinct personal style, which is fine, and writing new works out of a series of stock gestures, which is unsatisfying. Too bad Gubaidulina can't ditch the devilish harpsichord line (basically identical to the one in the Viola Concerto of a decade before), or the rising solo line awakening a soft murmur of metallic percussion, or the descending brass lines that fall down to the lower bass range and are extinguished by a timpani stroke.

To fill out the disc, Mutter recorded two of Bach's violin concertos. Personally, I've become something of a period performance snob and the performances of Bach I collect are those by the Bach Collegium Japan on BIS. Their Bach violin concertos disc has my favourite performances of the ones represented here, as well as Concerto in D minor BWV 1043 for two violins.

While the publicity for this CD (e.g. the promotional video on DG's site) concentrated almost exclusively on the Bach, only briefly mentioning that there's a MAJOR GUBAIDULINA PREMIERE on the disc, it's good to see that the liner notes give plenty of space to "In tempus praesens". Unfortunately, the liner notes also feature page after page of photos showing Mutter in lurid poses. It's sad that she still allows DG to exploit her looks like this.

I have examined both the standard release of this album and the "deluxe limited edition". The limited edition is nothing special, just a cardboard case instead of a plastic one, and maybe a few more shameless photos of Mutter, but otherwise the recording and liner notes are identical.
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