Monday, January 23, 2017
The violin music by Johannes Brahms has been part of my musical life for many years. Actually this goes back to my childhood, when I would listen to my father play the Brahms sonatas for violin and piano at my parents’ home. So it is appropriate that this music is the first DVD of the Month for 2017: Brahms: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-3 (complete) Wiegenlied, Op. 49 No. 4 (Lullaby) Performed by Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) and Lambert Orkis (piano) This DVD continues the success of violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and pianist Lambert Orkis. The Times of London wrote: “Never before have Mutter and Orkis seemed so joined at the hip, giving and taking, conducting dialogue, chasing each others’ thoughts . . . She plays with a new degree of maturity and depth, especially visible in the slow movements. The disc’s high point is the adagio from the first sonata, in G major, where Mutter’s gold thread is reduced to a dusky murmur before shifting through tones as subtle as they are various. Orkis’s contribution is equally vital, whether keeping pace with limpid filigree or, at the close, pedalling up a penumbra of resonance to balance Mutter’s whispers. Magical music-making, this. Elsewhere, Mutter shows that she is able to become passionately alive without shaking with neuroses. In the third sonata, in D minor, the finale lives up to Brahms’s instruction — “presto agitato” — but never races over the top. Throughout, speeds and dynamics are controlled with regard for the music’s inner substance, not its outward show . . . ” On this recording, Anne-Sophie Mutter, accompanied by pianist Lambert Orkis, shares her up-to-date thoughts on the Brahms Violin Sonatas that have been central to her repertoire from the start of her career. Here is a recording of the wonderful A-Major Sonata by Brahms:
The Davos annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) honoured Anne-Sophie Mutter with its Crustal Award last night for ‘her role in helping to shape a better world’. She shared the honour with the actor Forest Whitaker and the Colombian singer Shakira. The Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation has, since 1997, offered scholarships, performing opportunities and commissions for young artists worldwide.
By the artist, Norman Perryman: A few weeks ago, with over two thousand others, I was shuffling towards the exit of Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, slightly dazed, the sounds of Mahler 1 still going through my whole being. Mirga Gražinyté-Tyla had just conducted the CBSO in another fabulous concert. They brought the roof down! We pass by my painting The Mahler Experience – Symphony Hall. “Look”, a woman in front of me says to her group, “I think that may be Mahler 2, with Simon Rattle”. “That’s right”, I mutter. “Are you sure?” “Yeah, I painted it”. The crowd comes to a standstill. “You painted it! Hey, he painted it!” Handshakes all round. I find this reaction rather amusing, but it happens every time I’m in Birmingham. A group of teenagers is hanging around. I try not to feel prejudiced about their demeanour. One of them eventually approaches me and says: “Sir, I just have to tell you: that painting changed my life. I now love classical music”. A novelist wants to include the painting as the sublime emotional experience of her main character. Could we do a photo in front of the painting? And so on…. Read on, and see more images, here. Ars longa, vita brevis.
A viola player in the Gewandhaus orchestra, Tahlia Petrossian, had the cool idea of picking up soloists after the concert and taking them down to the Moritzbastei Club next to the concert hall for a jam session. She calls it Klassik Underground. So far, Leif Ove Andsnes, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Kirill Gerstein have followed her down to the club. Joshua Bell is next. Sometimes, she posts the performances on social media. Her experiment has worked so well that the Gewandhaus are planning to make it official in the next few days, with funding provided by the Eliette and Herbert von Karajan Institute and Blüthner Pianos. You read it here first. Here’s one we made earlier.
The violinist and festival director tells us about her musical interests and inspirations, from Corelli to Castrucci, and Bach to Bob MarleyWhat was the first record you bought? I think it must have been Mozart Violin Concertos with Anne-Sophie Mutter with Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker. I remember staring at the cover of the LP, a photo of Anne Sophie at 16, so pretty and serious and committed next to the silver-haired Karajan with his Hollywood actor look (I always thought he looked a bit like James Dean!). Her playing was perfect for creating joy in a shy 11-year-old (who wanted to be like her…!). Continue reading...
Warner Classics have snapped up an Anne-Sophie Mutter protégée, the Dutch violinist Noa Wildschut. Noa, who is 15, has been giving concerts around Holland since she was seven. Her mother is a violin teacher, her father plays viola in the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and her recital partner, Yoram Ish-Hurwitz, is also her uncle. She will record Mozart for her debut album with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra.