Though it is true that Anne Sophie Mutter can get a loud sound out of her violin, she is also capable of playing with great delicacy. Witness her performance of some of the passages of the Beethoven Sonata No. 8, Op. 30 No. 3. The opening movement is one of great contrasts and subtlety, and Mutter does not miss any of the nuances. The slow movement requires some very quiet and restful playing, and Mutter is able to provided the sotto-voce veiled tone that is needed to evoke the mood of poignant contemplation. The third movement is a rollicking moto perpetuo in Beethoven’s grand style, and here, Mutter plays just as her reputation suggests, with what my violin teacher used to call a “terrific sound”, i.e. a sound that can easily cut through the intricate rhythmic complexities of a concert grand piano.
Deutsche Grammaphon has packaged Mutter’s performance of the 10 Beethoven sonatas on a DVD. At first this took me aback as I thought I had purchased a CD. However, I soon found that if I set the DVD player on my iMac to open a small window, I could work on my computer while listening (and occasionally glancing) at the performance. Note to Mac users: If you just insert the disc, you will be in Full Screen view. To get out of it, eject the disc, to get the small window to pop up, then put it back in again. Alternatively, you can open the DVD player and set it to the small window BEFORE putting the disc in. I do not find the DVD distracting at all, as I can easily hide the window behind other windows I have open, and in the meantime I can enjoy listening to this heavenly music. This would be a perfect Christmas gift for those discerning classical music friends who have never seen (or heard) Mutter perform.
–Cynthia Haggard once trained to be a professional violinist. During the day, she is a medical writer and owns her own business. During the evening, she writes novels, short pieces and poetry. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. For more about her medical writing services, go to clarifyingconcepts. (c) 2008. All rights reserved.