Audio-CD / Vinyl / Download “Music moves us only when it tells a story”

Bach – Bologne – Previn – Vivaldi – Williams

Anne-Sophie Mutter & Mutter‘s Virtuosi Bach – Bologne – Previn – Vivaldi – Williams

As part of a 10-concert European tour in June 2023, Anne-Sophie Mutter and her Virtuosi ensemble, comprising some of today’s finest young string players, gave an acclaimed concert at the Vienna Musikverein. This took place just days before the violinist’s 60th birthday and it speaks volumes that she chose to share a stage with her young colleagues rather than marking the occasion with a gala solo performance. Based on that live concert, Mutter’s latest Deutsche Grammophon album shows the variety and versatility for which she has become renowned, its repertoire ranging from Vivaldi and Bach to Previn and John Williams, via Joseph Bologne.

It is set for release on 10 November, with three taster tracks to be issued digitally, complete with videos: Williams’s Theme from Schindler’s List on 6 October; the Allegro finale from Vivaldi’s Concerto for 3 Violins on 27 October; and the central Largo from Bologne’s Violin Concerto in A major on the same day as the album. The Vienna concert was filmed as a Unitel production, in coproduction with Deutsche Grammophon & ZDF, and in cooperation with Arte Concert & Wiener Musikverein. Viewers around the world can enjoy it now on STAGE+, with the exception of those in France and Germany, who will be able to access it on the platform from 29 December onwards.

Anne-Sophie Mutter’s extraordinary gifts were instantly recognised by Herbert von Karajan when she auditioned for him at the age of 13. The legendary conductor became her trusted mentor in the early years of her hugely successful international career. Mutter has since gone on to adopt a significant mentoring role herself, supporting young musicians through the foundation she established in 1997. In 2011, she set up Mutter’s Virtuosi, whose continually changing membership primarily comprises current and former recipients of Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation scholarships. Under her leadership, it tours widely, premieres new works and gives benefit concerts, thus both reflecting Mutter’s own priorities and offering its players a well-rounded introduction to the life of a professional musician. “Music moves us only when it tells a story”, Mutter says. “And I’m on the trail of the next generations of storytellers.”

With its chamber-like qualities, the Virtuosi ensemble is particularly well suited to Baroque and Classical works, as can be heard on the new album, where the players are joined by harpsichordist Knut Johannessen. The opening work is Vivaldi’s appropriately virtuosic Concerto for 3 Violins, RV 551, on which Mutter’s fellow soloists are Elias David Moncado and Mohamed Hiber. Vivaldi features among the encores, too – a dazzling performance of the Presto finale from the “Summer” Concerto. Staying with the Baroque, Mutter also programmes J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, providing individual moments for each of the nine string soloists, and his Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, whose meditative central Andante is framed by exhilarating fast movements.

Mutter is soloist both in the latter and in the Concerto by Joseph Bologne, son of a Guadeloupe plantation owner and a slave from Senegal. Bologne was famed in Paris not only for his virtuoso playing and varied compositional output, but as a dancer, horseman and fencer. He suffered career setbacks and posthumous neglect, however, because of his mixed race. “Bologne’s violin concertos are innovative and … place considerable demands on their soloist,” says Anne-Sophie Mutter. “His works and his life are two reasons why we should place [him] at the very heart of our concert programmes.”

From the 18th century we jump to the 21st, and André Previn’s Nonet, commissioned by and dedicated to Mutter, and premiered by the Virtuosi at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival. On this recording, Dominik Wagner is the double bass “soloist”, anchoring the conversations that pass between the string quartets on either side of him in a set-up that creates a striking surround-sound effect.

Again reflecting Mutter’s love of contemporary music – she has premiered 31 major works by composers such as Thomas Adès, Unsuk Chin, Sebastian Currier, Sofia Gubaidulina, Krzysztof Penderecki and Jörg Widmann, among many others – two of the three encores are new arrangements for the Virtuosi by Hollywood legend John Williams: “Nice to be Around” from Cinderella Liberty and, bringing the concert to an end, the Theme from Schindler’s List.

Another of her recent collaborations with Williams was recognised in June when Mutter received the Opus Klassik “Instrumentalist of the Year” award for Williams: Violin Concerto No. 2 & Selected Film Themes. She will perform live at the awards ceremony in Berlin on 8 October.

In addition, just three weeks before the Musikverein concert, Mutter was presented with the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society gold medal, on stage at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Noting that she had now joined such exceptional forebears as Joachim, Kreisler, Ysaÿe and Menuhin as recipients of this honour, RPS Chairman John Gilhooly summed up Anne-Sophie Mutter’s accomplishments and contributions to society as follows:

“Your interpretation of so many masterpieces is definitive … Your own dedication to the composers of our time has been remarkable … You are an inspiration to so many aspiring violinists. Your care and devotion to individually helping them overcome hurdles with the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation is especially treasured [and we] also commend how you use your music-making to draw minds to humanitarian matters, not least through your concerts this last year in support of the people of Ukraine.”

Preorder and first single

6 October, 2023

Anne-Sophie Mutter & Mutter's Virtuosi – Bologne: Violin Concerto No. 2, A Major: III. Rondeau
Anne-Sophie Mutter & Mutter's Virtuosi – Bologne: Violin Concerto No. 2 in A Major, Op. 5: II. Largo
Anne-Sophie Mutter & Mutter's Virtuosi – Vivaldi: Concerto 3 Violins in F Major, RV 551: III. Allegro
Anne-Sophie Mutter & Mutter’s Virtuosi – Williams: Theme from “Schindler's List”
  • Anne-Sophie Mutter & Mutter‘s Virtuosi
    Anne-Sophie Mutter & Mutter‘s Virtuosi
    Bach, Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Previn, Vivaldi, Williams

    Anne-Sophie Mutter, Mutter‘s Virtuosi, Knut Johannessen

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