Mutter Performs Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn was born on February 3, 1809 and he died on November 4, 1847. Another genius who died so young…
In fact, Mendelssohn was an amazing person: As a youngster, he was able to easily learn many languages, including Latin, Greek, French, English, Italian and others. I learned earlier this year that he was an excellent watercolor painter, as well. At the young age of about 17, he wrote the music to Midsummer Nights Dream. He also composed symphonies, chamber music, solo piano music, as well as piano concertos and two violin concertos. The more famous E-Minor violin concerto is recorded on this CD.
According to Wikipedia, “His success, his popularity and his Jewish origins irked Richard Wagner sufficiently to damn Mendelssohn with faint praise, three years after his death, in an anti-Jewish pamphlet Das Judenthum in der Musik. This was the start of a movement to denigrate Mendelssohn’s achievements which lasted almost a century, the remnants of which can still be discerned today amongst some writers. The Nazi regime was to cite Mendelssohn’s Jewish origin in banning performance and publication of his works.”
Still… Music and genius transcend prejudice, and we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mendelssohn’s birth this year (2009)!
Besides the E-Minor violin concerto, this performance also includes Mendelssohn’s Trio #1 for violin, piano and cello, as well as the sonata for violin and piano in F-Major. Ms. Mutter seems committed to explore the passion, drama, and excitement of this music, and one of the central approaches to all these pieces is the rather fast tempo that is assigned to each. In the Violin Concerto, for instance, she performs at such a fast pace, which – in my view – decreases its musical value and impact. Undoubtedly Ms. Mutter has played this piece for 35 years, but I feel that the listener loses something when the notes fly by at quite this rapid pace. In partnership with Lynn Harrell and Andre Previn, she does a wonderful job with the Trio No. 1; however, I still prefer to hear this piece, too, at a slower, more measured tempo.
For me, Anne-Sophie Mutter is one of the three most outstanding violinists performing today; still, that’s how I reacted to this performance…
Here, Ms. Mutter talks about the life of Mendelssohn:
Click here to explore Ms. Mutter’s performance of the Mendelssohn Concerto’s 3rd movement; see whether you have a similar reaction to the tempo as I do: