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Michael Divino

Review: Anne-Sophie Mutter playing Brahms in DC

November 14, 2010 at 2:00 AM

 Wow.  That is all.

 I have just returned to my dorm room from seeing Anne-Sophie Mutter playing all three Brahms sonatas at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts.  On Thursday, my violin instructor sent out an email to all of her students to let us know about the $10 tickets that the Washington Performing Arts Society that they were offering to students.  My hear immediately started beating in excitement, which was quickly followed by a horrible sinking feeling.  I have no car.... how would I get there?  No fear.  At orchestra rehearsal about an hour later, one of my friends, a graduate violin student said that she was going and I ordered my ticket right then and there.

Now to the concert.  I must say that listening to Anne-Sophie Mutter's recent recording of the Brahms sonatas does NOT do justice to seeing and hearing her do them in a concert hall.  Simply put, listening to her is pure magic.  Nothing more, nothing less.  The first that struck me was her spectacular use of bow.  She can use the entire bow for one phrase, and she really makes it work.  I really understand what people mean when they say the violin must "sing."  And, boy did she ever make that Strad sing.  There was spin in the sound.  It was lush, it was, as I said, pure magic.

 I think one of the best things about this performance was Anne-Sophie's ability to create an intimate atmosphere with this music.  The entire time i could feel the music cutting through the entire hall and speaking to me directly.  Me and only me.  I don't think I was the only one to have felt this way either.  The whole time I could feel the music truly reaching my heart. Many people were listening with eyes closed or were swaying with the music.  She placed the first sonata in G major in the middle of the program, which she also does on the album.  Only after listening to them in this order do you realize that the 1st sonata is the emotional core of all three, and ASM wants you to feel the same way too.  As she was reaching the end of the last movement of the G-major, I realized that there was a new feeling inside me... I didn't want this feeling of magic to end. I didn't want to leave the sound world that she took us too.  I was going to miss the beauty.  I was hanging on to every note.  When it ended, I felt as though I was waking up from a long, deep trance.  The audience waited a good 10 seconds to start applauding.  I was kind of upset when that piece was over.  It was so beautiful that even the words I've said here do not do her performance justice.  

The other two sonatas were just as spellbinding.  She and pianist Lambert Orkis received three or four standing ovations, and she played three encores "It Ain't Necessarily So" Brahms "Hungarian Dance no 5" and an excerpt from "Tango Dance and Song' written for her by Andre Previn.


Brava, Anne-Sophie! 


From Brian Hong
Posted on November 14, 2010 at 4:12 PM

 While Maestra Sophie-Mutter is not one of my favorite violinists, there is no doubt in my mind that her playing oozes beauty and seductiveness.

I have never had the pleasure of seeing her live, but she has a way to create such a singing, operatic tone with even the lightest of touches with her bow.

Truly a great artist; glad you enjoyed the concert!

From Hayne Kim
Posted on November 17, 2010 at 1:46 PM

 I also had the pleasure of seeing Anne-Sophie Mutter live recently, playing Beethoven string trios with Lynn Harrell and Yuri Bashmet. I grew up on her recordings and have always revered her playing, but hearing her live really did make a huge difference. While the violin solo career seems to be on the decline in our time, it was refreshing to see Maestra Mutter's timeless personality and presence as a performer reminiscing the incredible star power violinists used to have. I say all this since I am a violinist, but of course Lynn Harrell and Yuri Bashmet were wonderful too, and stars in their own right. It was really a most excellent collaboration between the three.

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