Tuesday, August 23, 2022

John Williams, Violin Concerto No. 2, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Boston Symphony Orchestra


With all the world of music unfolding today we are sometimes as in  a maelstrom, a storm of creative effort amidst a sea of unprecedented developments. If trying circumstances can lead to great music, as is the case for example with some gem symphonies that came out of World War II, should we expect the same today? Things seem promising and a fruit of that we hear in the recent music of John Williams, known by many for his expressive and effective film scores, but showing a somewhat more adventuresome and wayward inventive and orchestrational singularity in his concerted works. We can hear that nicely in the recent recording of his Violin Concerto No. 2 (DGG 80035442-02) as played so beautifully by violin titan Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the composer. 

The concerto is a major feat, a beauty refashioned perhaps of the bedrock Modernist roots of Berg's concerto and perhaps at times of Ravel's "La Valse." There is a kind of thoughtful look backwards to early modern times musically and then a bold jump forward with stridencies, devilishly virtuoso violin emanations that Ms. Mutter is especially well prepared for, and the glowing sort of mysterious orchestration and a rhapsodic yet contemporary fullness as end points that go a long way to taking you ahead for a noteful and insightfully sonic spatial ride. All it needs is your ears to begin the journey.

The follow up to this fortuitous work and fruitful pairing are three workings of "Selected Film Themes" from Star Wars and other memorable soundtracks. They provide lovely carpets for more of Anne-Sophie Mutter and her most beautiful renderings.  Both she and Williams are inseparable throughout, a collaboration that if you are like me invite you to abandon all resistance and surrender to the sheer magic of it all. Is this music meta-classic? Time will of course tell. Nice to hear certainly in any event. Bravo!

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