There seems to be a surfeit of virtuoso female violinists issuing collections like this one lately. Most are for violin and piano, with only a few the larger violin and orchestra variety. The theme is often “devilish” selections of various sorts, but Mutter has avoided that cliche here except for the famous Devil’s Trill Sonata. The gypsy influence seems to be more to the point here – after all, Carmen is a gypsy. The amazing Ravel piece seems to capture that wild abandon better than any of the others in this feast of bon bons for violin and orchestra.
Mutter just turned 30 recently and also married conductor/composer Andre Previn. She is at the top of her art, performing with ease as many as seven major concertos over a period of a week in one London series. Her technique is fully up to the rigors of these demanding works. She sometimes reminded me of the heart-on-sleeve approach of Nadja Solerno-Sonnenberg, but with Mutter the concern never enters one’s mind that she might come apart at the seams and smash her violin or something equally violent. Although the disc is titled after the Carmen Fantasie, the longest work on it is actually the devilish Tartini Sonata in G Minor. It appears that this is a re-mix for multichannel SACD of an earlier Mutter album, because the fine print lists “1993/2005 (SACD).” The masters are listed at only 44.1/24 bit, but the hi-res sonic options are every bit as spectacular as the performances.
– John Sunier