Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So promising, yet ultimately a victim of virtuosity, 23 July 2011
This review is from: Sibelius: Violin Concerto (Audio CD)
It seems that if I express a careful but negative review, I am likely to suffer indignant responses.
If you are a dedicated Mutter fan, or if you like this violin concerto to sound gloriously romantic, this review will not be of interest: there are plenty of affirmative positive reviews here for you.

I would hope that anyone who looks beyond Mutter's image and seeks the icy intensity and fiery bleakness of Sibelius would find my comments at least reasonable from that point of view.

I would stick to the positives first: This is a personal reading, and demonstrates Mutter's exceptional virtuosity. She intends to show from the start how bleak this wonderful masterpiece can sound,the violin entry sounding quieter, paler and more desolate than any other version on disc. She certainly brings out intensity at times, with dynamic changes almost overdoing the effect in places. The orchestral sound is good.

It is a worthwhile coupling with Sibelius' other well known violin pieces of lesser depth, played very nicely, if a little blandly - the humoresque sadly not quite pointed and witty enough to really make any statement. It is a great pity she didn't record all the humoresques for this disc, which is therefore a bit light on content.

I haven't really found this a musically satisfying performance though. I have no wish to string a load of invective and exaggeration which one of the reviewers has found necessary. But I really cannot find a feeling that the soloist has put this together as a complete whole - it has a feeling of being sections joined together. Also, I think that she overeggs the initial bleakness to the point that it is a caricature: the violin opening bears the composer's instruction "dolce ed espressivo" - Mutter's opening is far from dolce, and carries an unconventional idea of expressiveness - no vibrato at the beginning, but a great deal of wide vibrato thereafter in the piece. With her exaggerated pp - p entry (instead of mezzoforte) there seems to be recurring exaggerated dynamic and intensity changes in the first movment. Also, Mutter's episodic slowing and altering pace with apparently meaningless rubato is very irksome to anyone who reads the Sibelius as having bleak but persistent rhythms. All through the performance one is conscious of Mutter pushing and pulling the music in non-Sibelian idiom.

Sometimes less is more.

Unfortunately, the second movement fails to move me. It seems to lack that lonely cold intense passion that brings tears to one's eyes. It seems over-egged warm and treacly in Mutter's wonderful sound. The final movement is a rhythmic shambles, just listen to any fine version eg Mullova, Kyung-Wha Chung, Heifetz, Oistrakh, Kraggerud, Haendel, Neveu, and even Tasmin Little's understated (and underrated) version, and one can see how the music really fits together in the last movement and as a whole. I really find the musical rapport between Previn and Mutter to be disappointing, when one compares it with Previn's greater examples of musical empathy with other soloists in the past (and I really don't mean the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show!). Just wondering perhaps whether their personal rapport has affected the balance of the musical rapport, so that Previn is too accepting of an accompanying role in this work?? Who could say??

It remains a moot point whether personal eccentric readings are artistic or simply ill-conceived.
It is not for me to accuse. Mutter is a truly fine virtuoso violinist, but this performance of one of the truly great original and iconic violin concerti of all time is unfortunately too eccentric for my own taste.
I have many versions of this work on CD, but this one I don't think I'll be listening to again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in


Track comments by e-mail

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Dec 2011 14:30:16 GMT
Samwise says:
Thank you very much for posting this sensitive and thoughtful review, which balances a great deal of uncritical hyperbole.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›