Anne-Sophie Mutter - Back to the Future Box set
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Back to the Future
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The 11 20th-century violin works included on Anne-Sophie Mutter's meaty four-CD compilation were recorded between February 1988 and January 1997. Mutter is a dazzling performer. Her performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto throbs with new-dawn optimism. Her intense dialogue with pianist Lambert Orkis is spiked with wit in Bartók's Violin Sonata No.2 , the only chamber piece in the set. Her version of Ravel's Tzigane casts the Romany as the innocent, passionate romantic. She plays Stravinsky's Concerto en ré with jaunty Soldier's Tale jocularity, broods ominously in Berg's dark Violin Concerto and barks and bites through Bartók's Violin Concerto No.2 .
Strangely, no works from the 1940s through 1970s are included. Mutter ignores the claims of concerti by Barber, Korngold, Britten and Goldschmidt. This would matter more if the very recent works were not played with such scintillating, original verve. All but one were written for Mutter and the recordings have the power and excitement of definitive first performances. Lutoslawski's Partita in particular, with its ad lib movements for violin and piano alone, breakneck speeds and expressively ornamental quarter-tones elicits Mutter's greatest virtuosity. The little-known French composer Norbert Moret's En Rêve beautifully creates the weightless, surreal substance of a dream with Mutter's sinuous solo at the centre. Rihm's Gesungene Zeit sirens inspiringly at almost dog-whistle pitch while Penderecki's six-movementMetamorphosen turns the soloist from assiduous grub to flitting vivacissimo butterfly.
Back to the Future is an impressive if unbalanced survey of 20th-century violin music. The fact that it is the work of one of the era's greatest virtuosos, however, more than compensates for its shortcomings. --Rick Jones
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But, of course, if you don't have Mutter Modern already then this is an excellent purchase.
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