Opening Night: Berlin Philharmonic and Anne-Sophie Mutter

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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Anne-Sophie Mutter with the Berlin Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall's opening night. Anne-Sophie Mutter with the Berlin Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall's opening night. (A.J. Wilhelm for NPR)

Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter – a longtime collaborator with the Philharmonic – is the soloist in the lush Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor. The program opens with Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances and concludes with the final moments of Stravinsky's The Firebird.

The concert marks the first of a series of programs that the Philharmonic is presenting in New York this month. It also kicks off a series of "Perspectives" concerts that Mutter is organizing this season at Carnegie Hall.

Berlin Philharmonic
Sir Simon Rattle, Music Director and Conductor
Anne-Sophie Mutter, Violin

RACHMANINOFF Symphonic Dances, Op. 45
BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
STRAVINSKY Closing Scenes from The Firebird

Audio: Mutter on playing at Carnegie Hall:


We asked you to share your thoughts during the concert on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #CHLive. Below is a collection of your tweets and photos.

Berlin & Mutter: A Partnership with Roots in the 1970s

By Brian Wise

Finding the right mix of artistic heft and party-night pizzazz is a balancing act orchestras face when planning an opening night gala concert for Carnegie Hall. The Berlin Philharmonic and its chief conductor Simon Rattle will especially want to start things right when they open the legendary venue's season Oct. 1. They're sticking around for five more concerts in New York, including three at Carnegie and two at the Park Avenue Armory. The former will include all of Schumann's four symphonies; the latter, Peter Sellars' staged presentation of Bach's St. Matthew Passion.

This gala program is an altogether different affair. It will feature two servings of late Russian Romanticism — Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances and scenes from Stravinsky's The Firebird — along with Bruch's First Violin Concerto with German soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter. WQXR will broadcast the performance live; a Twitter conversation will be hosted on this page.

Long identified by her sumptuous tone and glamorous presence, Mutter has a long and somewhat complex history with the Philharmonic. She made her debut with the ensemble in 1978, when she was just 13, playing Mozart's Third Violin Concerto in Salzburg. The orchestra's music director, Herbert von Karajan, had heard her play two years earlier.

Herbert von Karjan and Anne Sophie Mutter

There was some skepticism around Mutter in those early years. Critics and some members of the orchestra didn't feel the teenage violinist was ready for the big time. But with Karajan's support, she managed to overcome the doubters and made her first recording with the ensemble in 1978 (Mozart's Concertos Nos. 3 and 5). Several more recordings followed, including the major concertos — Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Bruch — usually with Karajan on the podium.

Karajan arranged for an exclusive Berlin contract for Mutter, by which in that city she appeared only with the Philharmonic. Her international fame quickly ascended. In this clip, Mutter talks about the "Karajan Sound":


Then from 1987 there was a 26-year hiatus between Mutter and Berlin that has been shrouded in mystery (Mutter guards her personal affairs carefully). But in recent years, she has been on the Philharmonic's speed dial again, appearing several times. Last year saw the release of Dvořák's Violin Concerto, their first recording together since 1983.

As things often coincide at Carnegie Hall, the opening night concert also kicks off Mutter's "Perspectives" series at the venue — and, perhaps surprisingly, marks her first performance with the Berlin Philharmonic in the U.S.

Comments [4]

Bernie from World

Funny how Carnegie has taken to calling the orchestra by its German name, Berliner Philharmoniker. Do they really expect their patrons to say it that way? Unless you're a German expat living in NYC, it's Berlin Philharmonic to you. Anything else is pretentious.

Oct. 01 2014 07:43 AM

"CastaDiva from New York, NY"?

Da Bronx? Staten Island? New York, NY is a big place! :-)

Oct. 01 2014 01:30 AM
CastaDiva from New York, NY

"Kay Sharp from Europe"? Europe is a large, diverse continent. You may as well have said "Kay Sharp from Earth".

Sep. 29 2014 06:58 PM
Kay Sharp from Europe


Looking so much forward to hearing the concert on October 1st thanks to you.

The way in which this article describes Mutter's relationship with the Berlin Philharmonic is historically not accurate and should be revised.

Firstly her initial visit with to the Philharmonie in Berlin to play for Karajan and her debut performances in Salzburg and Berlin were a sensational triumph in Germany which turned her into a national treasure overnight. There are various accounts e.g. by Joachim Kaiser, Karajan himself and both history books and media reports which record this. See e.g. in this trailer a very recent interview with Wilfried Strehle a longtime member of the orchestra where he describes this key event.


Secondly - when at the end of Karajan's life his relationship with the Orchestra became difficult because of the Sabine Meyer dispute - Anne-Sophie Mutter took Karajan's side.

Please do more research and check the facts much better - these are unique artists who deserve our utmost respect and appreciation. Thank you again for bringing us in faraway countries the concert live!

Sep. 28 2014 08:07 PM

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