Korngold, Tchaikovsky

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Korngold,Tchaikovsky
WORKS: Violin Concerto; Violin Concerto in D
PERFORMER: Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin); Vienna PO, LSO/André Previn
CATALOGUE NO: 474 8742
André Previn and the VPO set the stage for the soloist’s first entry in Tchaikovsky’s Concerto with a well-padded opening tutti, recorded live in the Musikverein. Mutter has all the warmth that you’d expect, but I do find that her vibrato has become very distracting: it seems somehow to lie on the surface of the notes, leaving the sound underneath unaffected and unaffecting. The main theme in the first movement has a perfect profile in rubato and dynamics, and a lovely legato, but too much make-up has been applied. The second theme is inflected with a knowing portamento between the first two notes, which just sounds arch, and the second movement suffers from similar unnecessary refinements to its essentially simple beauty. That simplicity is something you get from Chung (also conducted by Previn, on Decca), Vengerov and Oistrakh (DG), who also dig further beneath the surface of the sound, and yield nothing to Mutter in the fireworks of the finale. She’s at her best in this movement, with a thrust that keeps the orchestra on its toes, but I could still do with a little roughness, especially in the central section.In the Korngold, Mutter’s up against Heifetz’s classic recording, and here she does give him a run for his money. The Concerto is based on some of Korngold’s film scores, so the Hollywood sweetness of her sound is well-matched to the music. It’s also a natural for Previn – his third recording of the piece – and he revels in its lush orchestral sonorities, with matching Abbey Road sound. Martin Cotton