Anne-Sophie Mutter Goes Clubbing
Virtuoso violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter isn’t waiting around for young people to come to the concert hall anymore. For her latest album, she takes the music to their house, performing with Lambert Orkis, MahanEsfahani, and her young Mutter Virtuosi at a nightclub in Berlin. The setlist on The Club Album is chock full of hits, from excerpts of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” to Bach, Gershwin, and even “Schindler’s List” (a choice that seems ill-suited for a club, but the audience seems to like it).
Mutter is in fine form as always, even if her violin wasn’t at the end of the night. She jokes in the liner notes to The Club Album that she sent her instrument to the “spa” for refurbishment after withstanding the heat inside the intimate space.
What makes The Club Album exciting is the energy that Mutter and her young Virtuosi seem to get from playing in front of a crowd full of excitement and liquor. The performers are clearly relishing the appreciative whoops and cheers of the crowd after each number, and the baroque music of Bach and Vivaldi, which offers plenty of opportunity for showmanship, seems to get the biggest reaction. I loved harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani’s improvisatory touches on “Winter” from “The Four Seasons,” and for the hometown crowd in Texas, it’s great to see that San Antonio’s own Nancy Zhou shares the spotlight with Mutter for a selection by Johann Sebastian Bach.
It’s worth watching some of the “making of” videos online to get a sense of how much fun both the performers and audience seem to be having. Which begs the question, when will an ensemble try something like this here in Texas? Sebastian Lang-Lessing told me a few years ago he’d like to see the San Antonio Symphony play a similar gig, though I reckon it might be hard to cram them into a club. Who’s next? I’m looking at you, SOLI Chamber Ensemble.