Anne-Sophie Mutter

The Very Best of Anne-Sophie Mutter

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EMI's two-disc set of The Very Best of Anne-Sophie Mutter provides a surprisingly narrow glimpse of Mutter's extensively broad repertoire. The entire first album is devoted to Bach concertos. Mutter's total defiance of all things "historical performance practice" makes very Romantic readings that some listeners may find to be a little over the top. The second disc is slightly more encompassing. It opens with the "Autumn" Concerto of Vivaldi's Four Seasons taken from the highly regarded set with Herbert von Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic. Mutter's playing here is still quite stylized, but much more under control than in her Bach. Mozart's Concerto in D with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Muti again shows Mutter's rather individual way of doing things: very Romanticized (though not overdone), intense sound, and vibrato throughout. The album closes with two shorts of Massenet and Sarasate, showing off both Mutter's stellar technical abilities as well as her ability to make almost unending musical lines. What's disappointing, however, is that the collection of Mutter's "best" stops so abruptly in the middle of the nineteenth century while so many of Mutter's performances of twentieth century works -- especially those composed especially for her -- would fit equally or more so into the category of her "best" recordings.

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