Even though Anne-Sophie Mutter recorded most of the great violin concertos early in her career, working closely with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic, she hadn't recorded the Violin Concerto in A minor of Antonín Dvorák. This 2013 recording with Manfred Honeck and the Berlin Philharmonic fills that gap in her legacy, and this is an exceptionally bright and passionate performance, well worth the wait. Mutter is impeccable in execution and warm in expression, especially in the infectious Finale, and her presence is quite vibrant, thanks to Deutsche Grammophon's expert microphone placement that separates the violin from the orchestra and puts it front and center in the mix. The orchestra is full and robust, though at no point does it overwhelm Mutter, because Honeck carefully grades the dynamics to appropriate levels at each entrance and balances the sections so the ensemble is evenly placed in the background. The rest of the program offers the Romance in F minor and the Mazurek in E minor, both played to the same high standards as the Concerto, and an encore with pianist Ayami Ikeba of the perennial favorite, the Humoresque in G flat major, which Mutter gives a charming lilt. This CD is a pure delight, and Mutter's fans should be sure to add it to their collections.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Concerto for violin & orchestra in A minor, op. 53|