It is one of the highlights in the calendar of every classical music fan in Berlin - and beyond: On New Year‘s Eve, the Berliner Philharmoniker invite an exceptional soloist for a festive gala. Together the musicians bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new. In 2015, the orchestra has invited German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. Together, they performed works by Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Ravel, Poulenc and Chabrier.
To celebrate their ten years of collaboration, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lambert Orkis recorded all ten of Beethoven's sonatas for violin and piano. Unlike most other integral sets, these recordings were made during live performances. DG already had the incendiary interpretations of Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich in its catalogue, but these new versions offer a completely different brand of volatility. The most striking example of Mutter and Orkis's radical approach can be heard in the famous "Kreutzer" Sonata, Op. 47. Violinist and pianist resort to any means possible – including exceptionally flexible tempos and an enormous palette of tone colors – in their quest to express the intensity of Beethoven's musical vision. Although the audiences are raptly silent, their presence clearly adds a palpable charge of electricity to these performances. The interpretive freedom of these performances may not appeal to all tastes, but those who value music-making as a re-creative art should find Mutter and Orkis's interpretations singularly satisfying. In any case, the daring duo defiantly counters some critics' complaints that today's performers lack personality. Andrew Farach-Colton
The Karajan Official Remastered Edition comprises 13 box sets containing official remasterings of the finest recordings the Austrian conductor made for EMI between 1946 and 1984, which are now a jewel of the Warner Classics catalog. Karajan's extraordinary capacity for elevating his soloists on a 'magic carpet' of orchestral sound is demonstrated in this 10 CD collection of concertos; among the instrumentalists are such figures as Sviatoslav Richter, David Oistrakh, Mstislav Rostropovich, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Alexis Weissenberg, Maurice André and James Galway.
"Between 1980 and his death in 1989, Herbert von Karajan recorded the incredible amount of 78 CDs worth of orchestral and choral music for DGG. In the final decade of his creative life, he made quintessential recordings of major works he had not recorded before: Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 “The Inextinguishable” and Saint-Saëns’ “Organ” Symphony. Among the highpoints of Karajan’s late years is the major part of his collaboration with Anne-Sophie Mutter, the “wunderkind” Karajan discovered in the late 1970s and mentored throughout the 1980s.
"Playing a new score was like standing on the moon and looking back at the familiar classics that were still on earth. Once you had made the trip to the moon, the earth could never look the same."—Anne-Sophie Mutter
Composer Claude-Bénigne Balbastre came at the end of the French Baroque keyboard tradition that produced François Couperin and Jean-Philippe Rameau. Composed in 1759, these pieces look back toward the tradition of French harpsichord music, with its individual piece titles designating various members of the French nobility and their individual personalities. Thirty years after Couperin announced the reunification of French and Italian tastes, they show only light influence of Italian style; the clearly diatonic, periodic Allegro tune of "La Laporte," track 16, is the exception. Nor does Balbastre attempt to take after the intellectual density and harmonic complexity of Rameau's keyboard music. Instead his little musical portraits have a mostly pleasant, pastoral mien, with harmonic touches that are unusual and evocative rather than difficult.
Her fourth release, “Traverse This Universe”, finds Ms. Sophie Lee reaching beyond her traditional jazz roots with original material written alongside her ukulele and with the help of producer/songwriters Luke Winslow-King, Earl J. Scioneaux, III and Ben Polcer. “Traverse This Universe” features six original compositions and five standards performed by Ms. Sophie Lee’s mainstay Spotted Cat band and showcasing over a dozen talented New Orleans musicians, including Aurora Nealand, Helen Gillet, Charlie Halloran, Khris Royal amongst others. As lagniappe, the album artwork highlights the creative talents of her eight and six year old daughters.