Anne-Sophie Mutter’s first Bach recording for DG couples his Concertos BWV 1041 and BWV 1042 with the world-premiere recording of the Concerto commissioned by her from Sofia Gubaidulina, the Russian composer who regards Bach as her greatest source of inspiration
Mutter gave the premiere performance of Gubaidulina’s Concerto at the 2007 Lucerne Festival and will record the work with the London Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gergiev at the beginning of 2008
For the Bach Concertos Mutter reunites with the Trondheim Soloists, with whom she recorded the Vivaldi Four Seasons album that has sold more than 350,000 copies.
The combination of Bach and Gubaidulina will appeal to lovers of Bach and instrumental music in general as well as to listeners interested in discovering something new. It also offers a unique marketing angle for the specialist music press as a follow-up Mutter’s 2006 Mozart project
“Gubaidulina has her own very personal musical identity, and the concerto's strategies for playing off heights against depths, lament against affirmation, are very powerfully realised. This darkly inviting music is splendidly performed. You'd expect the Mutter/Gergiev combination to be combustible, and there is certainly no reticence or half-measures in the way the music's expressive core, its play with visions of hell and heaven, is exposed.”
“In tempus praesens is certainly one of Gubaidulina's most striking and impressive works of recent years. Mutter's performance of this stunning piece, undoubtedly one of the finest violin concertos to emerge in the past 30 years, is absolutely mesmerising. Her Bach, too, is charismatic.”
“the violin concerto written for her by Sofia Gubaidulina in 2006-7. In a single movement running for about 32 minutes, it shows the composer's concern to make a direct and immediate impact, avoiding complicated materials but using very expansive forms. It's possible to sense the kind of allusions to Mahlerian archetypes that are no less prominent in Shostakovich or Schnittke. Yet Gubaidulina has her own very personal musical identity, and the concerto's strategies for playing off heights against depths, lament against affirmation, are very powerfully realised. The risks of rambling, improvisatory musing are triumphantly avoided, and the work's final stages appear to bring starkly opposed images of extinction and rebirth into a strongly ambivalent conclusion that both affirms and questions resolution. This darkly inviting music is splendidly performed. You'd expect the Mutter/Gergiev combination to be combustible, and there is certainly no reticence or half-measures in the way the music's expressive core, its play with visions of hell and heaven, is exposed. Gestures towards traditional consonant harmony stand out strangely, and dancelike patterns are clearly not going to survive for very long in a context where brooding and turbulence are the principal qualities. The resplendent recording celebrates the score's rich colouring while never allowing the solo line, played with all this performer's natural theatricality and poise, to lose its prominence. Maybe, at one particularly stark climax, the hammered rhythmic repetitions in the orchestra seem over-emphatic. But urgency rather than reticence drives Gubaidulina's thought, and this performance never lets you forget it. It would have been good to hear these performers in Gubaidulina's other major work for violin and orchestra, Offertorium. Instead, the pair of Bach concertos speak of a distant musical world in which stability and spontaneity achieved an extraordinary conjunction. The performances are neat, tidy, dispatched with elegance and vigour. Yet they reinforce the gulf that musically separates then from now, and all- Gubaidulina discs are not as common as they should be.”
3rd October 2008
“The new piece is nicely complemented by two of Bach's violin concertos, in which Mutter is partnered by the Trondheim Soloists, whose performing style is a hybrid between modern techniques and period ideas: they use baroque bows but on metal stringed instruments...It's the Gubaidulina that will sell the disc to the composer's admirers.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.