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Dip Your Ears, No. 63 (White-Hot Brahms)

available at Amazon
J.Brahms, R.Schumann, Violin Concerto, Fantasy,
A.S.Mutter / K.Masur / NYPhil

Anne-Sophie Mutter, the New York Philharmonic, and Kurt Masur in Brahms’s violin concerto may read like an impressive line-up to some – but to all but staunch Mutter fans this is more akin to a recipe for mixing the worst of wilful egomaniacal (Mutter) with the utterly boring (Masur). To all those who, like me, can’t stand what Mutter does in standard repertoire, to all those who, like me, think that Masur on disc is at best a solid conductor: behold a miracle. As if, for a brief moment in 1997, the planets had aligned just once in perfect harmony, all that I can’t stand about either artist, everything that I think distorts or dulls their spirits suddenly works for, not against, the work at hand. It jibes, makes sense, excites. This rendition constitutes simply the most riveting, ravishing Brahms ever put on record, a white-hot interpretation that must be heard to be believed. As unlikely as the sources, none are better. Even if still I like my Mintz or Milstein or Neveu – for other reasons – they don’t have my toes tingle (rare enough with Brahms).

Now I have heard what might just explain the truly extraordinary nature of this recording. Not a planetary shift having brought the musical spheres of Mutter, Masur, and Brahms into special alignment but rather more sobering: four days before this live performance was recorded, Anne-Sophie Mutter’s first husband had died.


Anonymous said...

It's definitely one of the finest recordings of the Brahms -- very intense, passionate, and full of panache. Mutter's affected approach really works in her favor here, and I think that if I had to pick a desert-island version of the violin concerto, this just might be it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I whole heartedly agree that this possibly the most moving account of this work I have ever heard.

It is a sign of a collaboration that was fortunate enough to happen between the artist Mutter, the music of Brahms (such an amazing concerto when played like this), and the orchestra with it's flowing lines.

I felt as if there was nothing in the way of the emotions that were being evoked and brought forth... how rare is that?

BTW, there's an interesting essay written by Mutter about recording the Brahms with the NY Phil