Previn: Violin Concerto / Bernstein: Serenade

Previn: Violin Concerto / Bernstein: Serenade

by Anne-Sophie Mutter
     
 

The collaboration of Anne-Sophie Mutter and Andr� Previn has produced some striking results. Their previous CD, titled Tango Song and Dance, began with the premiere recording of a work by Previn and continued with a wildly diverse program of music for violin and piano. Mirroring that disc, thisSee more details below

Overview

The collaboration of Anne-Sophie Mutter and Andr� Previn has produced some striking results. Their previous CD, titled Tango Song and Dance, began with the premiere recording of a work by Previn and continued with a wildly diverse program of music for violin and piano. Mirroring that disc, this one also starts off with a first recording of a Previn composition -- his Violin Concerto, subtitled "Anne-Sophie," for whom it was written (the pair were married in 2002). It's a lyrical and engaging work that, while fairly conventional in style and form, allows Mutter to dig in and display her flawless technique and the impassioned playing for which she is best known. Previn deems the first movement the most traditional, and fittingly, it features segments of Impressionist lyricism -- such as the evocative opening section, in which Previn seems to be painting a bucolic scene -- broken by passages of Prokofiev-like rhythmic intensity, while swelling violins at other moments recall the lushness of the late Romantics. The more free-form second movement, marked "Cadenza -- Slowly," draws an icy and bleak landscape at the outset but builds to a softly glowing ending, and the final movement is a fanciful set of variations on a German children's song that Previn learned as a boy. The Boston Symphony provide skillful accompaniment on this live recording, with the composer himself conducting. The companion, Serenade After Plato's 'Symposium,' is one of Leonard Bernstein's finest works, and it receives a predictably vivid reading from the violinist. The London Symphony step in to take over the accompaniment, but the same sparks fly from Mutter's bow, and Previn remains her adoring and attentive partner at the podium.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
August 2002 witnessed a celebrity marriage not forecast in the crystal ball of any tabloid columnist; that of youthful, 40-ish violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter to 72-year-old pianist/conductor/composer Andr� Previn. While their union may have set gossips' tongues to wag, in purely musical terms it is a winning combination for the most part. The "Violin Concerto Anne-Sophie" is an Andr� Previn work completed in March 2001 and intended for Mutter. Previn understands her musicianship well and plays to Mutter's strengths; the opening of the second movement where Mutter plays alone is a notable highlight of the concerto as a whole. Stylistically, the work moves between Hollywood-type scoring and a somewhat thornier aspect, the overall effect being strongly reminiscent of the music of Alban Berg. But there is also something about it that is strangely dull; while there are alternating moments of lyricism and excitement, at other points the concerto doesn't seem to "rise to the occasion" and tends to ramble. Perhaps it is better served in a concert performance than on record. The Leonard Bernstein "Serenade" is presented here in what is likely the finest recording it has ever had. Mutter really puts her best foot forward in this under-appreciated work, and Previn's handling of the small-scale tutti required is nothing short of admirable. If you like Bernstein and can get past the kind of "cap, gown, and diploma" milieu in which the "Serenade" is conceived, this will be a real delight for you. In sum, this disc is not the greatest thing since sliced bread, but on its own terms it may hold real appeal, especially for those who are predisposed to the content and/or the performers.
New York Times - David Mermelstein
An unabashed valentine to Ms. Mutter and her instrument, at once plain-spoken and defined by grand gestures. Naturally, Ms. Mutter rises to the work's technical challenges. More surprising, given her fondness for abrasive modern scores, is her embrace of the concerto's sentimental spirit, which she projects vigorously.
Time Out New York - Daniel Felsenfeld
Mutter...plays the technically demanding solo part [of the Previn Concerto] with passion, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra sounds as good here as it ever has.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/14/2003
Label:
Deutsche Grammophon
UPC:
0028947450023
catalogNumber:
000131302

Tracks

  1. Concerto for violin & orchestra ("Anne-Sophie")  - André Previn  -  Boston Symphony Orchestra  - Anne-Sophie Mutter  - Martin Engstrom  - André Previn
  2. Serenade (after Plato: Symposium), for violin, harp, percussion & strings; also for violin & piano  - Leonard Bernstein  -  London Symphony Orchestra  - Anne-Sophie Mutter  - Martin Engstrom  - André Previn

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