Stars when they were young (9): Anne-Sophie Mutter, 13

Stars when they were young (9): Anne-Sophie Mutter, 13


norman lebrecht

September 13, 2020



  • Greg Bottini says:

    Wasn’t she just the cutest?
    I adore the Mutter/Karajan recordings, all of them.
    Although A-SM still plays beautifully, there was just something extra which was truly special about the young musician.

  • caranome says:

    i first saw her in Beethoven Violin Concerto with Ozawa n BSO in early ’80s. She stood there for the first 3-4 minutes during the opening, eyes closed, head back, swaying with the music in her strapless red Dior gown. Beethoven never sounded so good!

  • caranome says:

    Saw a DG promo poster of hers at the Harvard Coop looking coquettishly at the camera when she first came on the scene, and the caption read: “Don’t worry, Frau Karajan, Herbert and I are just friends.”

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    Remember the cover for EMI’s Four Seasons, the red jumper in the woods! Raised eyebrows at the time.
    Despite being headhunted by Herbie few if any of her records ever get “Building a Library” etc. It was the record covers folk bought really.

  • Jane says:

    A brown leather sofa. Very 1970s.

  • Superficial says:

    And she has kept her weight exactly the same as when she was 13! That’s a feat!

  • Graeme Hall says:

    I saw her in 1981 when she was 17 playing Mozart with Karajan in Oxford. A memorable night. The police even closed Broad Street to traffic to keep exernal noise down.

  • Gustavo says:

    She may have played better at 13 then nowadays.

    She struggled with the Paganini-esque “Hedwig runs” in Vienna.

  • Gustavo says:

    Poor deprived child.

    No friends, only pet animals.

    Wondering whether Mutter may have developed a father complex under these conditions.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    I am not enthused by everything A-SM has recorded, particularly her Beethoven, but I would make particular mention of three recordings that I think show her at her best: first, the Glazunov and Prokofiev Concerto No 1 with Rostropovich conducting the National Symphony on Erato (filled out with an unusual and moving work, not involving Mutter, by Shchedrin – by “unusual” I mean it requires the string players to sing/hum!).

    Frankly there are times and there are composers where I think she might have benefited had she as a youth come more under Rostropovich’s influence than Karajan’s. But it was Karajan who opened doors for her and in this instance he cannot be second guessed as talent scout.

    The DG disc that has her Stravinsky Concerto with Paul Sacher conducting (in his early 80s) and two works by Witold Lutosławski with the composer conducting (in his mid 70s) is endlessly interesting. There are Stravinsky Concerto recordings I like more for pure energy, but as a package this CD has a lot to offer. She really has a way with new and newly written music that is highly admirable, as it would be so easy and lucrative for her to just keep plugging away at the standard repertoire.

    But for me the absolute prize in her discography is her “Recital 2000” disc for DG (gasp, 20 years ago? yes, the math does not lie) with Lambert Orkis pianist. The D Major Sonata (No. 2) by Prokofiev and the Respighi Sonata are the “big” works and beautifully done, but not to be missed are George Crumb’s Four Nocturnes and the 4 Pieces by Webern. Here is a mastery of violin color and bow control and dynamic shading and musical patience that is a violin masterclass in itself.

  • Dan oren says:

    Was it Munchinger conducting? Wondering what she has to say about him?