The Salzburg Festival can always be relied upon to offer compelling couplings of artistic personalities: in this case star violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and Maestro Riccardo Muti on the podium to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Exactly 30 years to the day since Anne-Sophie Mutter first performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto at the festival under the direction of Herbert von Karajan, Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece – originally deemed to be unplayable – is back on the programme. And Mutter’s playing is stupendous: whether in her restrained, vibratoless playing in the middle movement or her bold approach in the finale, she succeeds in a way
that draws astonishment. There is no doubt that the virtuoso, especially in combination with Riccardo Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic, “is at the peak of her art”, as the Salzburger Nachrichten observed. The diva
of the violin dedicated the encore she gave that memorable day, Bach’s Sarabande in D minor, to her mentor, Karajan.
“The second half of the morning concert was a triumph of tonal beauty,” according to the Salzburger Nachrichten. In Brahms’s Symphony No. 2, which like Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto was premiered by the Vienna Philharmonic, the veteran conductor Muti “lets the string and wind groups demonstrate in exemplary manner how it can sound when all the musicians are in perfect harmony with one another.” A wonderfully
transparent tonal sound that seems to make time stand still resulted in a thoroughly justified standing ovation in the Großes Festspielhaus!