For Anne-Sophie Mutter, acknowledged for many years as one of the world’s supreme violinists, returning after a quarter of a century to Bach’s pair of violin concertos – among the peaks of the baroque repertoire – is a notable event indeed. For her first Bach recording since she began her fruitful association with Deutsche Grammophon she brings her mature artistry to bear as both soloist and directing the Trondheim Soloists (with whom she has recorded a best selling Vivaldi Four Seasons), ensuring that the profound interpretations are wholly her own.
Mutter further stamps her individuality on the release by her choice of a bold, intriguing, yet entirely appropriate coupling: the world premiere of the violin concerto In Tempus Praesens, written especially for her by the Russian contemporary composer Sofia Gubaidulina (Mutter gave the first performance at the 2007 Lucerne Festival). Also in 2007 Gubaidulina, who has spent the past 16 years in Germany, was awarded Hamburg’s prestigious Bach Prize, and in many ways her music, for all that she has created her own, compelling musical language, has been directly inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Anne-Sophie Mutter says: “There is a profound spiritual affinity between Gubaidulina and Bach . . . She is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating of all composers, in that every note reveals such depths of emotion”. This is certainly the case with the extraordinary new five-part concerto. In Tempus Praesens is an altogether gripping addition to the concert repertory, and one that could hardly be presented more strongly than by its dedicatee and the London Symphony Orchestra under Gergiev. The composer declared: “Anne-Sophie Mutter’s interpretation was absolutely wonderful … I was thrilled that my composition was played so perfectly”.
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