When German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter performed Mozart's sonatas at her Beijing recital on Tuesday, the result was a combination of a great composer's charismatic notes and an outstanding player executing them.
While strictly adhering to Mozart's structure and spirit, Mutter showed her unique treatment of details, especially with the pizzicato in Violin Sonata in G Major, K 454 and the contrasting tones in Violin Sonata in E Minor, K 304.
Held at the Century Theater of Beijing, this recital was dedicated to Mozart, whom Mutter describes as "the composer I have grown up with, who was always there waiting for me at every juncture of my career."
Mutter was born in Baden, Germany, and made her debut at the age of 13, playing Mozart's Concerto No 3 in G Major, K 216 with Herbert von Karajan in Salzburg.
This year marks the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, as well as the 30th anniversary of Mutter's debut, so she devoted three sets of CDs and a series of concerts around the world in commemoration.
Beijing is the last leg of Mutter's whirlwind tour of Asia, where she has a loyal fan base. Beginning on June 16 in Tokyo, she has performed in Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Taipei, Tainan and Hsin Chu.
This is her third visit to Beijing, after a solo recital in 1997 and a concert with China National Symphony Orchestra in 1999.
Though the group of Western classical music listeners are proportionally small in China, Mutter is esteemed in the circle.
"Mutter's technique is hard to rival, but her technique always subjects to musical expression," said Beijing-based music critic Wang Jiyan. "A guardian of the art of classical music, Mutter's playing has a power to enlighten one's soul."
For the concerts in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing, Mutter performed five of Mozart's violin sonatas with pianist Lambert Orkis, while in Guangzhou she performed two of Mozart's violin concertos with Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Yu Long.
"It was a wonderful experience to feel and relive Mozart's music with musicians in Guangzhou," said Mutter. "After rehearsing and communicating with each other, we were able to give the audience something new. I enjoyed that."
Mutter also had somewhat of an unpleasant experience while touring China. In Shanghai, on June 19, she asked a man in the audience to leave the concert hall because he was taking photos and distracting her attention.
The incident didn't seem to affect the rest of that concert and the rest of the tour. Mutter said that though such occasions are rare in her career, they do happen sometimes.
The tour apparently gives Mutter an opportunity to know more about China. She said that she grew up with more knowledge about China's political issues, but would like to learn more about Chinese culture and history.
Mutter once explained that she likes to play with musicians who have very different ideas so that they grow together, like yin and yang, the opposing principles in nature according to traditional Chinese philosophy.
"The world is closer nowadays in terms of communication and culture," said Mutter. "I'm looking forward to many more visits to China."
(China Daily June 29, 2006)