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Mozart, Violin Sonatas, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Lambert Orkis (released on September 19, 2006)
Jens F. Laurson, Violin Concerti (December 31, 2005)
Violin Concerti, Sinfonia Concertante (2005)
Piano Trios, with André Previn, Daniel Müller-Schott (2006)
Forthcoming on DVD (February 13, 2007):
Orkis and Mutter play well together, with a clear sense of having collaborated for many years. Orkis has a refined touch for Mozart, with at the same time the technical ability for the most difficult passages, especially in the virtuosic K. 526 (A major, CD 4), and to stand well on his own as in the second movement of K. 305 (A major, CD 2). Mutter's playing is impeccable, but whether the interpretation seems right varies from movement to movement. Mutter calls K. 304 (E minor, CD 4) her favorite sonata, and her reading of it is the most intense on the four discs. The lovely second movement (Tempo di Menuetto) has a suffocated, self-strangling main theme, and Mutter makes her violin almost raspy. Press handlers and Mutter herself have singled out K. 304 as the only Mozart sonata in a minor key, and while that may indeed be significant, there are single movements in minor keys, too. For example, the minor-mode theme and variations in K. 377 (F major, CD 4), is particularly nice, especially the concluding Siciliana. Here Mutter gives us some of her least affected playing, with one folk-like wail she adds in the final minute.
There are a few minor problems, as in the first movement of K. 296 (C major, CD 3), in which the tempo never settles, with Orkis seeming to jump ahead at times. Mutter has such strength in her sound that when she tries to make her tone narrow or simple, as in the Puckish first movement of K. 378 (B-flat major, CD 2), it loses too much interest. (An exception is the sweet second-movement theme and variations of K. 379 -- G major, CD 1 -- but it is dominated by the piano.) Combined with the occasional idiosyncrasies, like the tendency of Mutter's tone to turn a little toward roughness or darkness, that means that this set of Mozart sonatas is unlikely to become a favorite, at least for me. That does not mean that there is not much to admire, but this is not a crucial purchase. For Mutter fans, wait for the DVD.
Deutsche Grammophon B0007102-02