The classical recording industry never met an anniversary it didn’t embrace, even seemingly innocuous milestones. Like 35.
So you can’t blame Deutsche Grammophon for using the 35th performing anniversary of star violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter's concert debut to put out a limited edition box set of her complete catalog. Recently, the label has used other historical landmarks to launch marketing campaigns, be it the 100th anniversary of composer Gustav Mahler's death or Franz Liszt's 200th birthday, but this one involves an artist still in the prime of her career.
That being said, 40 CDs is a significant investment – and, by definition, aimed at super-fans of the queen of the strapless gown – so the label has also issued a two-disc “Highlights” compilation that also offers much to enjoy.
The set runs the gamut, from her Mozart debut album in 1978 to her Brahms sonatas in 2010, with stops along the way at Vivaldi, Bach, Lutoslawski and Bernstein. There are shorter bonbons like Debussy’s Beau Soir and Gershwin's It Ain’t Necessarily So, and there are single movements of blockbuster concertos, including the Sibelius, Brahms, Bruch and Mendelssohn. Of particular historic note is the first track, with the 11-year-old Mutter playing a solo movement by Prokofiev at a music competition in 1974.
If this set whets your appetite for Mutter's playing, also out this fall and worth considering is a new album with four world premiere recordings, with pieces by Penderecki, Rihm and Currier.
Anne Sophie Mutter: The Complete Musician (Highlights)
Available at Arkivmusic.com