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Reviews: Tchaikovsky, Korngold: Violin Concerto - Mutter

Reviews: 3

Site review by Polly Nomial February 1, 2007
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Review by akiralx October 24, 2004 (8 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
An excellent SACD - sonically the use of the rears is very discreet, just emphasising the clarity and warmth of the recording, although to be honest I didn't really notice the quality of the sound as the performances are so good.

I'm not a particular fan of the Tchaikovsky concerto (I really got this for the Korngold) but this is a very fine interpretation: high quality playing from the soloist with plenty of imaginative touches. I've never heard Mutter's much earlier version with Karajan, which I imagine is 'straighter', but no need to worry that the eccentricities which marred her second version of the Beethoven Concerto with Masur would materialise here.

This is a superb live performance with plenty of poetry and bravura. The VPO are in top aristocratic form and Previn is as an imaginative accompanist as his soloist wife.

The Korngold is if anything even better - first of all the recording is as good if not finer than the coupling, completely eclipsing Gil Shaham's version (also on DG with the LSO and Previn, CD only) which was wrecked by the absurdly close balance of the solo violin, making the listener's ears cringe at the climaxes. Mutter's violin is also slightly too closely observed, which makes me deduct a star for sonics - but generally the sound is very pleasing.

Just listen to Mutter's lovely playing in the central Romance - and then enjoy the vividness of the recording in the sparkling finale, with the soloist's pizzicato chords and the woodwind solos crystal clear.

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Review by Scott December 30, 2005 (3 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is a great performance of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto by an all-star cast - Mutter, Previn and VPO. To top it all off, DG (at least this once!) has done an excellent job capturing the sonic glories of this violinist, the orchestral accompaniment, and the fabled Musikvereinsaal where the performance took place.

Mutter takes a fairly straightforward approach to the Tchaikovsky concerto, though not without some degree of individuality and accent. Previn appears to be comfortable with giving the VPO the freedom to play this work, which they all probably know by heart anyway.

Booklet notes contain a great deal of Mutter/Previn ruminating on why "more corn than gold" Korngold never received the recognition he deserves, after which Previn crowns Mutter as the interpretive queen of the Korngold Violin concerto, an honor other professional violinists might be happy to concede and hardly befitting or reflective of Mutter's true skills. Commentary is accompanied by full color, glossy photos of Mutter on almost every page, an obvious "sex-appeal" sell-out that Karajan would never have countenanced.

Equipment - Sony DVP500 SACD, Sony STR-De575, Mirage Omni 260's.

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