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CLASSICAL  March 2006

CLASSICAL March 2006

Subject:

Mozart Piano Trios from Anne-Sophie Mutter

From:

Donald Satz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 24 Mar 2006 03:17:25 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (59 lines)

   Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
  The Trios for Piano, Violin and Cello

Trio in C major, K. 548 [19:50]
Trio in E major, K. 542 [18:38]
Trio in B flat major, K. 502 [22:37]

Andre Previn, piano
Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin
Daniel Muller-Schott, cello
Recorded Live, Baden-Baden, May 2005
Released March 2006
Deutsche Grammophon B0006099-02 [61:20]

The Music - Although highly enjoyable, Mozart's Piano Trios do not
represent his finest hour.  Both the Violin Concertos and Sonatas for
Violin and Piano are more compelling fare.  I only bring this up as a
guide for those new to Mozart's music who might assume that all of
Mozart's mature works are of the masterpiece level.

Anne-Sophie Mutter - This extremely popular violinist is on a determined
mission to record the Mozart Violin Concertos, Piano Trios, and Violin
Sonatas.  Through it all, Mutter uses the old-school approach which is
to play Classical era music as one would perform Romantic era works.
Vibrato is constant; you can try to hide but you can't avoid it - it's
all over the landscape.  In addition, Mutter often sounds like a gypsy
playing as the wagon moves over the countryside.  This is the same type
of playing she employs on her recent set of the Mozart Violin Concertos
that I reviewed with some skepticism a few short months ago.  The problem
is that Mozart creates an abundance of opportunities in the Concertos
for flights of fancy and virtuoso playing; these opportunities are much
reduced in the Piano Trios which require greater elegance and structural
balance.  The fact is that Mutter has little concern with balance or
elegance.

Partnership - From my perspective, Mutter and her husband Andre Previn
are consistently at odds with one another.  Mutter emotes romantically,
Previn offers classical balance, purity and restraint.  I find that they
sound ill-suited for partnership, neither one willing to budge from their
respective conceptions of Mozart's music.  Muller-Schott?  Well, he's
around now and then but doesn't play a major or distinctive role.

Stop Complaining - In the vibrato minefield, I have to admit that the
interpretations have plenty of gusto, wit, playfulness, drive, and good
cheer.  In other words, there is nothing boring about the performances;
they are as vibrant as any in the catalogs.  Also, the sonics are quite
good with ample depth, clarity, and definition among the three instruments.

Don's Conclusions: A recommendation is entirely dependent on the
listener's response to Anne-Sophie Mutter's performance style.  For
those who enjoy a romanticized Mozart, her disc should give many hours
of listening pleasure.  However, Mozart enthusiasts who prefer minimal
vibrato, period instruments and classical proportion might find Mutter
an impossible pill to swallow.  Personally, I intend to keep the disc
only for reference purposes, feeling that the music is more appealing
when Mutter is at rest.

Don Satz
[log in to unmask]

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