Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Anne-Sophie Mutter – Herbert von Karajan & Berliner Philharmoniker – Violinkonzerte · Violin Concertos No.3 + No.5 (1978)

FrontCover1Grammy Award winning violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter was born in Rheinfelden in Baden (Germany). She embarked on inter¬national career as a soloist in 1976 at the Lucerne Festival and made her first recording for Deutsche Grammophon at the age of 14: Mozart violin concertos with Karajan and Berliner Phil¬harmoniker, with whom she later also recorded the Mendelssohn, Bruch, Brahms and Beethoven.

Mozart’s canonical violin concertos are works of youth. Even though Einstein’s demarcation still stands – there is a qualitative gap between the first two and the final three – all five of them are not dissimilar in their emotional brief. It is a tragedy that K 470 is lost to eternity other than the four bars in Mozart’s Catalogue. Oh, to have heard him in this domain at the floodtide of his powers!

The jungle holds many mysteries. Will we ever understand what prompted Claudio Abbado, the former Principal Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic no less, to go rogue and hobble around with the period practice wolf-pack and all to no vivid end? Was it the onset of senescence or a Lear-like madness? I recently re-listened to his Mozart: The 5 Violin Concertos. Heavens to betsy! When Mozart is being re-promulgated as a Dresden China figurine at a lower pitch or, to use a more modern metaphor, as Mozart Zero with no added sugar or fat – just one calorie, baby – surely the Day of the Locust is upon us. Omega Men, step forward!

It is a blessed relief to turn to this famous recording. Even after all these decades, it continues to astound. The young soloist plays fierily and poetically in turns. My celebrated Herbie soup-o-meter did not beep once for its duration. The Berlin Philharmonic, judiciously scaled down, is galvanised by the endeavour. Oh, listen to the deified double basses of this once-great ensemble as they ruminate expansively at 7’11” ff in the Adagio of K 219 – this is opulence. Indeed, both works momentarily appear to be greater than what they are. The warm analogue recording has been enhanced by the latest remastering.

Considering ASM’s penchant for older men, it is not a bad thing that Eliette von Karajan stood in the wings for these recording sessions, paint-brush in hand. If Abaddon, the Archangel of the Abyss, has a consort, she can be readily imagined . . . .

Longevity has been accrued by this endeavour. I cannot say the same for a certain mangy old wolf in this domain whose ululations will soon be lost to the winds. (by Bernard Michael O’Hanlon)

Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin)
Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Herbert von Karajan


Violin Concerto No.3 In G, K.216:
01. Allegro 10.46
02. Adagio 9.51
03. Rondo (Allegro) 6.40

Violin Concerto No.5 In A, K.219:
04. Allegro aperto 10.50
05. Adagio 10.57
06. Rondeau (Tempo di minuetto) 9.24