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Violin Sonatas 1-10; Allegro; Contretanz; Menuetto (4 CD Pluscore) Box set, Enhanced

3.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, Enhanced, November 24, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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This complete cycle of Beethoven violin sonatas was recorded during a series of live performances in 1998. Mutter devoted the entire year, together with her partner, Lambert Orkis, to an extensive global tour focused on these works, and the accounts are infused with a sense of cross-connection, expressive freedom, and depth of insight acquired from such prolonged concentration. It shows Mutter in full maturity, commanding the artistic confidence to take risks and imprint her intensely personal signature. Mutter's characteristically sumptuous, caressing tone tends to be overstated for Beethoven's heartily playful turns and mercurial humor in the fast movements of the Op. 12 group, but the luminous beauty with which she phrases the Adagio of the third sonata is just one of many passages (consider, for example, Sonata No. 8's slow movement, as well) of sustained, heart-stopping poetry on this set.

The famous "Spring" Sonata gains an added dimension in the context of the passionately engaged performance of its preceding companion/counterpart predecessor (the Fourth Sonata in A Minor). There's a full partnership between violin and piano (too often missing in accounts of these works) that allows Mutter and Orkis to play off each other with full-blooded spontaneity, perhaps at its most engrossing in the boldly searching scope of their "Kreutzer" Sonata, which stands in wonderful contrast to the intimate loftiness of the final sonata in G--Mutter's own favorite. Throughout the set, Mutter couples her probing intelligence with nuanced phrasing, incisive rhythms, and expressive gestures (notice the tender turn she gives to the all-important trill that opens the last sonata) to bore into the music, unearthing many buried treasures. The discs also include a handful of encores as bonbons and are encoded with CD-plus software so that listeners can follow the scores of four of the sonatas. --Thomas May

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Product Details

  • Performer: Lambert Orkis, Anne-Sophie Mutter
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (November 24, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set, Enhanced
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00000DI22
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,570 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I'm perplexed really. People here are complaining about how these two aren't strictly following the score, how they interpret freely. They do indeed, make no mistake about it. This is not the place for "textbook Beethoven." But when you already have dozens of such performances, what's the point? To put it another way, when the likes of Mengelberg, Furtwangler, Hefeitz and Bernstein did the same thing, back in the "golden age of classical music," they are lauded for their "interpretive insights," their "going beyond the score," their "urgent communicative qualities." We then bemoan the fact that "they just don't play music this way anymore, remember the good old days?" etc., etc. On these poseurs I would try an experiment: I would like to reprocess *these* recordings, taking away bass and treble, overmodulating, and adding surface scratch. Then I'd slap a black-and-white "historic-looking" cover on the CD set and say these are heretofore-undiscovered recordings from long ago. I'll bet you'd see five star ratings down this page. There is so much poetry in these readings it boggles the mind. Even what in the hands of others are commonplace phrases are treated to maximum expressive effect here. Mutter is a colorist like no one else playing today that I have heard. She has matured into possibly the most intelligent violinist performing right now. There's technique to burn, but it's never just for show (for a real roller coaster ride, hear her recording of the Berg Concerto on this label with James Levine). Rather than be relegated into the background, as one partner sometimes is in these works, Orkis is subtly her equal. The two of them interact almost telepathically at times. Together they extract some very deep meaning from these works we've all heard dozens of times.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
For those of you who enjoy listening to Beethoven on period instruments (shudder), this is not the recording for you. Nor is it a good recording for those who like things buttoned down, straightforward, steady, restrained, and unemotional.
However, if you truly enjoy Beethoven and don't mind hearing new things, this recording is a must-buy. Mutter and Orkis bring a whole new perspective to the sonatas. Their wild tempi and dynamics are a little scary at first, but you'll soon fall in love with the powerful and lyrical interpretation of these sonatas and wonder what you did before you owned this wonderful collection.
Close attention was paid to the score: every one of Mutter's dynamic, phrasing, and articulation choices is supported by the music. This recording does not go against Beethoven, as some have said on this website, but actually bring's Beethoven's markings to the forefront.
The sound of the duo is just fantastic. No doubt this is the most romantic interpretation you'll ever hear. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. The living, breathing, luscious sound that Mutter brings to these sonatas is just unforgettable.
In my opinion, this is one recording you can simply can't do without.
Comment 63 of 71 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
I have listened to these recordings again and again, and find new richness in the performances with every listen. The violin sonatas are some of Beethoven's finest creations, and I would not hesitate to recommend this recording as the finest I know of these works. Mutter and Orkis are not eccentric, yet theirs is a highly individual approach, with choices of tempo and phrasing that cause one to take notice, but in a way that makes you rethink and rehear this music. Mutter's performance is highly nuanced, striving for expressiveness rather than beauty of tone, though she clearly is a virtuoso player. Her playing is matched, and it seems inspired, by Orkis's dramatic and expressive pianism. This is one occasion when a recording has caused me to wish I had been at the performance.
Comment 25 of 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on July 31, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Part of the beauty of music is that it lends itself to many different interpretations. I have heard these recordings, and feel that most of the negative reviews stem from the proposition that there can only be one way to interpret this music - Beethoven's way. Personally, I disagree with this approach entirely and with all the reviewers who say that Beethoven was not well served. How would they know? By the interpretations they have heard? By their studying of the score in minute detail phrase by phrase? By their understanding of Beethoven's mind and soul and his life and what they thought he intended to portray through his score markings? How immensely arrogant it is to assume that we know the mind of Beethoven so well. Even if this may not have been something which followed every marking to the letter and nth degree of expression marking, that does not take away from the validity of the recording as an original act of musical interpretation in its own right, and one that quite possibly, may have presented the music in a different light to the composer himself and made him rethink the various possibilities available. Let us not create a shrine to classical music for veneration can stifle creativity. We may agree or disagree violently with Mutter's interpretation, but personally, I think that's the whole point and beauty of the exercise.
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Violin Sonatas 1-10; Allegro; Contretanz; Menuetto (4 CD Pluscore)
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