This time Mutter will be bringing Bach’s three violin concertos with her. For the most part Mutter has favored the Romantic and modernist repertoire and steered clear of the Baroque. She recorded Bach’s concertos back in 1983 with Salvatore Accardo directing the English Chamber Orchestra and playing second fiddle in the double concerto. Those were beautifully played performances but not entirely self-assured interpretations. In the intervening years, Mutter’s playing has only gotten more beautiful while her interpretations have gotten vastly more self assured.
Whether this combination of beauty and assurance works in Bach’s concertos is another issue. These works are far less about virtuosity and beauty and far more about musicality and spirituality. What Mutter’s plan of attack will be one can only guess, but judging by her recent high-powered and incredibly opulent recordings of Mozart’s concertos, I suspect that while Mutter may have something new and different to say about these standard-repertoire chestnuts, what she says may not be all that important. The only way to know is to go.
[Originally published in October, 2008.]