Mutter Performs Mozart

Mozart: Piano Trios K. 502, 542, 548 (DVD)

The performers on this Unitel DVD are Anne-Sophie Mutter, Violin; Andre Previn, piano; and Daniel Müller-Schott, Cello.

These three Mozart Trios are very familiar to me, in that I was a member of a Trio many years ago, and I recall preparing these for a performance at my home; when we were ready, good friends were invited to attend the concert, and share some goodies afterwards…

I found this performance somewhat perplexing: I really enjoyed some parts, yet was amazed by some other parts. Here’s what I mean: The two string instruments seem to blend together beautifully, and the style of Mutter and Müller-Schott is a somewhat “romantic” Mozart, where some liberties are taken with occasional stretching out of phrases to achieve an emphasis. The piano, however, was – for me – a disappointment: Previn is still a strong musician and all the notes were there. Yet his playing is strangely somewhat mechanical, and, from my visual observations, he does not even seem to be enjoying the actual musical “conversation” between the three instruments. I saw hardly any eye contact between Previn and the others, other than at the beginning of a movement.

The instruments employed by the three performers are certainly impressive:

• Daniel Müller-Schott plays the “Ex Shapiro” Matteo Goffriller cello, made in Venice in 1727.
• Ms. Mutter plays her Stradivarius violin; and we see Previn performing on a Boesendorfer piano.

Yes… there are several nice moments, particularly in the slow movements. Overall, however, the “Heart” of Mozart is not there in the piano, and that affected the overall lack of complete satisfaction for me.

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