Tchaikovsky, Korngold – Violin Concertos – Anne-Sophie Mutter (2004/2015) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Tchaikovsky, Korngold – Violin Concertos – Anne-Sophie Mutter (2004/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 00:58:41 minutes | 566 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | @ Deutsche Grammophon

Anne-Sophie Mutter’s virtuosity is so crystal clear that she doesn’t even have to try any more. The ease with which she gets into her first solo in the Tchaikovsky is astounding–we hardly know what hit us–and she tackles the cadenza as if it were just another integral part of the work, rather than draw attention to the fact that it’s a rather awkward cadenza at that. Her attacks are clean and strong and her tone is always deep and round; this is the epitome of the Romantic approach. The final movement draws attention to itself somewhat, but the listener remains dazzled. The Korngold is a horse of a different color, with the orchestra endlessly commenting on the comings and goings of the violin and Mutter leading and adding to the festivities. She puts aside her usual barbed approach for a very gentle entry into the slow movement and the high trills and show-offishness in the last movement are playful and sparkling. Conductor Previn clearly knows and loves these works too, and the recording is very clear, with the violin very closely miked. This is grand playing and a big listening experience.

“Performing contemporary music had added immeasurably to the way I play Tchaikovsky’s Concerto,” writes violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter in the liner notes to her second recording of the work in 20 years. To be more precise, what performing contemporary music has added to Mutter’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s concerto is an abrasive tone, an aggressive technique, and an interpretation that treats Tchaikovsky’s tender little concerto as if it were a lover who liked it rough and raw. Although there is no denying Mutter’s virtuosity, her performance is at best willful and at worst wrongful.

“Anne-Sophie makes the structure of Korngold’s piece clearer than anyone else,” writes conductor André Previn in the liner notes of his wife’s performance of Korngold’s Violin Concerto. To be more precise, it is Previn who makes the structure clearer, who, indeed, makes this the most persuasive performance of the piece ever recorded. An old hand at the music of Korngold, Previn’s sensitive conducting shapes an ardent but cogent performance, a performance that lets Korngold’s lines sing and soar but always in context of a convincing structure. Mutter, who thankfully has not added any hint of “contemporary music” to Korngold’s neo-Romantic piece, plays with all the subtlety, taste, and beauty of which she is capable. The result is one of the most completely compelling performances of the work ever recorded. Deutsche Grammophon’s sound is transparent with a slight hint of reverberation. –AllMusic Review by James Leonard

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Violin Concerto in D, Op.35
1. 1. Allegro moderato 18:27
2. 2. Canzonetta: Andante – attacca: 06:57
3. 3. Finale (Allegro vivacissimo) 09:38
Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957)
Violin Concerto In D Major, Op.35
4. 1. Moderato nobile 08:40
5. 2. Romance: Andante 07:58
6. 3. Finale: Allegro assai vivace 07:05

Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin
London Symphony Orchestra (#4-6)
Wiener Philharmoniker (#1-3)
André Previn, conductor