Beethoven – Violin Concerto
Anne-Sophie Mutter, violinist
Herbert von Karajan, conduction
Deutsche Grammophon, 1980
It was thirteen-years-old violinist Joseph Joachim who revived Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in 1844. This significant piece of music, which is currently one of Beethoven’s most popular works, was quite neglected before him. Joachim’s performance made a sensation and, from that moment onwards, he was forever associated with the Violin Concerto, which was one of the works he performed more often.
In 1980, it was the turn of another extremely young violinist to perform the concerto successfully. Anne-Sophie Mutter was just in her teens when she recorded Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker, but her performance is as refined as that of a master.
Anne-Sophie Mutter & Beethoven’s Violin Concerto
This would not have been the last time Anne-Sophie Mutter recorded Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Another recording was released in 2002. However, if the most recent one is also the most mature, this early recording benefits from youthful vivacity as well as technical assurance.
Supported by a watchful, insightful Karajan, Mutter shines with no difficulty. Perhaps, as Joachim’s case suggests, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto suits particularly well young musicians, and Mutter is a tangible proof of it. Her renditionis magisterial and clear. It has not only technical finish, but also freshnessand constantly reveals her secret joy.
Mutter’s entry in the first movement is a murmur, perhaps just a little timorous but not awkward. However, she immediately reveals her energy and colours her part with shadings of the most exquisite kind. Her performance is a vibrant one. In the Allegro non troppo, the glowing sound of her instrument is riveting, and her elegance and spontaneity reveal her perfect technical control.
The long melodies on which she lingers on in the Larghetto are equally mesmerizing. What is extremely charming about them is Mutter’s quiet and yet meaningful expression. The final Rondo, at last, is the movement where Mutter can express her exuberance at her best. Her bright sound and her verve convey the most sincere message of delight and joy.
For Mutter’s many skills – on a technical as well as on an emotional level – her performance is absolutely praiseworthy.
Herbert von Karajan
For his part, Karajan pays attention to each musical phrase and, of course, to the general picture. Beethoven’s concerto is paintedat a candle light, with many warm and delicate colours which inextricably blendwith each other, and only in the last movement the listener has the impressionto be finally arrived in the open air. In fact, if in the first two movementsthe Berliner Philharmoniker have been soft and composed, in the last one weassist to an explosion of joy.
The old conductor’s stamina is remarkable and perfectly in harmony with Mutter’s youthful liveliness.
This is definitely one of the best renditionsof Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.