November 22, 2006

BEAUTY IS OBJECTIVE:

Mutter, Taking Mozart Seriously (Tim Page, November 22, 2006, Washington Post)

The violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter has thrown herself into the music of Mozart this season, recording all of the concertos, most of the sonatas and a number of the larger chamber works. She has also been taking Mozart on tour, with her longtime musical partner (and pianist of the National Symphony Orchestra) Lambert Orkis. On Monday, under the auspices of the Washington Performing Arts Society, the two came to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall for a program of duets. [...]

It was an ambitious program: five substantial works from Mozart's maturity, ranging from the haunting Sonata in E Minor, K. 304 (the only one of the composer's more than 35 compositions in this genre written in a minor key, yet still splashed with melancholy sunshine) through the exuberant Sonata in E-flat, K. 481, with its almost Bachian contrapuntal play. (For the record, the other pieces were the Sonata in F, K. 376, the Sonata in G, K. 379, and the Sonata in B-flat, K. 454.)

Mutter's great mentor was Herbert von Karajan, and she has many qualities in common with the late Austrian conductor. There are some who find both musicians cold technicians -- uninterestingly perfect and perfectly uninteresting -- and both have been accused of playing down emotional intensity for tonal beauty.

Unfair charges in both cases, or so it seems to me. Still, tonal beauty there certainly was, and in abundance.


Mozart wasn't Romantic.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 22, 2006 9:33 AM
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