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Lutoslawski: Chain 2, Partita; Stravinsky: Violin Concerto / Mutter


Release Date: 12/29/2009 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 423696   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Igor StravinskyWitold Lutoslawski
Performer:  Anne-Sophie MutterPhillip Moll
Conductor:  Paul SacherWitold Lutoslawski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia OrchestraBBC Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Mutter's performance is spell-binding, covering a range of expression from inward musing to biting wit that may be even wider than the composer himself imagined.

This issue gives record collectors their first opportunity to sample the music Lutoslawski has written since the powerful and provocative Symphony No. 3, completed in 1983 and already twice recorded (by CBS and Philips). My own preference would have been for a disc that comprised all three Chain pieces to date—No. 1 is for 14 instruments, No. 3 for orchestra—along with the Partita, and even, if space permitted, the as-yet-unrecorded Novelette for orchestra of 1979. Nevertheless, given the quality of performance and recording throughout this new DG issue, I
Read more cannot bring myself to register more than a token complaint. In any case, the conjunction with Stravinsky usefully points up the extent to which Lutoslawski's debt to that master is in some ways even more significant than it is to the oft-mentioned Bartok.

In his notes Lutoslawski writes in glowing terms of Anne-Sophie Mutter's musicianship, and it would indeed be hard to imagine interpretations of Chain 2 and the Partita surpassing the blend of passion and technical polish evident here. Neither work offers Lutoslawski at his greatest. The violin writing in Chain 2 flirts with cliché, but transcends it through the always fascinating relationship between solo and orchestra, and through tight control of the constantly evolving structure that the title 'Chain' describes. The Partita—originally written for violin and piano and retaining the piano as accompaniment for its more cadenza-like passages—is understandably close in style to Chain 2. It works well in this orchestrated form, and has a particularly fine central Largo.

The uncluttered, finely-balanced recording also brings a vivid clarity of detail to the Stravinsky Concerto. I suspect the tendency to 'mark up' some of the softer dynamic indications, especially in the first movement, was a decision of the performers, not an engineer's imposition. Certainly the contrast between this new all-digital production and the earlier Perlman/Ozawa version of the Stravinsky (also on DG), which bears the ADD designation, is striking. The sound for Mutter is both spacious and sharply focused, that for Perlman significantly drier, though I find Perlman's more open tone, and marginally more shapely phrasing, preferable in the third movement, Aria 2. It is also more appropriate for the prevailing mf dynamic marking in this movement than Mutter's intense, veiled sound. As a whole, nevertheless, Mutter's performance is spell-binding, covering a range of expression from inward musing to biting wit that may be even wider than the composer himself imagined. In no sense is this an over-interpretation, however. Details are never exaggerated at the expense of larger perspectives, and while Perlman has a comparable ability to do justice to wood and trees alike, his is a more single-minded, less varied reading.

The veteran Paul Sacher makes a rare, and welcome, appearance as conductor of the Stravinsky, while ceding Chain 2—a Sacher commission and dedicated to him—to the expert hands of the composer. In the Stravinsky, Sather and the Philharmonia provide expert support, and one can be reasonably confident that the few moments where rhythms are not absolutely steady are interpretative inflexions, not accidents: they certainly do nothing to dissipate the cumulative energy of this marvellous work.

-- Gramophone [2/1989]
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin in D major by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter (Violin)
Conductor:  Paul Sacher
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; France 
Date of Recording: 02/1988 
Venue:  Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London 
Length: 21 Minutes 2 Secs. 
2.
Partita for Violin and Piano by Witold Lutoslawski
Performer:  Phillip Moll (Piano), Anne-Sophie Mutter (Violin)
Conductor:  Witold Lutoslawski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; Poland 
Date of Recording: 08/1988 
Venue:  Walthamsstow Assembly Hall 
Length: 17 Minutes 29 Secs. 
3.
Chain 2 for Violin and Orchestra by Witold Lutoslawski
Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter (Violin)
Conductor:  Witold Lutoslawski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985; Poland 
Date of Recording: 08/1988 
Venue:  Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London 
Length: 18 Minutes 21 Secs. 

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