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Disc review: Anne-Sophie Mutter, The Club Album From the Yellow Lounge

Classical

Anne-Sophie Mutter

The Club Album From the Yellow Lounge

[Deutsche Grammophon]

Three stars

German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter usually gets on my nerves. She’s so flamboyant and often, hearing her play, I think her ego gets in the way and her playing gets erratic. But on this album, for what I think is the first time, I kind of like her.

Maybe it’s that she is in a club atmosphere, which is informal anyway, so it’s more acceptable just to let ‘er rip. Maybe it’s that the freewheeling repertoire makes the unpredictable twists and turns more acceptable. Whatever the reason, though I didn’t find every track listenable, I had fun with it. Mutter sounds happy in this club, which I understand is legendary in Berlin. She digs into that Strad for pieces of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” with zest that can only be described, as the notes do, as electric.

A Brahms Hungarian Dance can take all the rubato she gives it, which is a considerable amount. Debussy’s “Clair de lune” is pretty and Copland’s “Hoe-Down” is a kick. The Bach/Gounod “Ave Maria” lends a nice quiet reverent touch, and on the opposite side, I liked her take on the 1938 duo-piano classic “Jamaican Rumba.” Accompanying Mutter are Mutter’s Virtuosi, a group of young musicians she mentors. It’s a cute name considering that “Mutter” is German for “mother.” Also, I understand that the Strad had to go into the shop after exertion in this environment. I say it was worth it.

– Mary Kunz Goldman

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