Dvořák, Violin Concerto (inter alia), A.-S. Mutter, Berlin Philharmonic, M. Honeck (DG, 2013)
S. Currier, Time Machines, A.-S. Mutter, New York Philharmonic, M. Francis (DG, 2011)
Mutter has been a regular with the NSO over the years, and her connection to Christoph Eschenbach has only strengthened that association. The German violinist lends the sheen of her name to many new works for violin, including concertos -- Previn, Gubaidulina, Krzysztof Penderecki, Wolfgang Rihm -- her considerable technique, sense of pitch, and formidable memory are strengths in this area. Currier describes Time Machines, a seven-movement work, as exploring "the relationship between the perception of music and time." The ribbon of time was perhaps reflected in the piece's opening theme, a running motif of buzzing notes -- heard first in the solo then echoed by the violin section, it is accompanied by accented chords both in solo and orchestral forms. The buzzing theme is recalled, in compressed form, in the third movement, a sort of chatty scherzo, begun and ended with cracks of the whip in the percussion section, and in the fourth, where motoric motifs are layered on each other. The same sense of sound marking the passage of time is featured in the second movement where, over lush sustained chords, the solo's jagged shouts ricochet across the orchestra in close-paced echoes, creating one of many beautiful effects in this work. The same themes degrade into clusters in the entropy movement (no. 5), ending in a memorable sort of cadenza where the violinist is answered by many instruments, most memorably the flexatone, and seem stretched out into chords, in a way that recalled the film scores of Hans Zimmer, in the finale. It is not a piece I expect to hear ever again in a live performance, but it was diverting and absorbing the first time around.
Anne Midgette, A double delight from Anne-Sophie Mutter and the NSO (Washington Post, February 17)
Peter McCallum, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Mozart: still keeping things fresh (Sydney Morning Herald, February 3)
Clive Paget, Anne-Sophie Mutter: Thankful for what she's got (for now…) (Limelight Magazine, January 21)
Another violinist, Christian Tetzlaff, plays another new concerto, this one by Jörg Widmann, in the next program from the National Symphony Orchestra (February 27 to March 1).