Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Persons catalog

Anne-Sophie Mutter

German violinist, born in 1963, began her career at the young age of 13, after Herbert von Karajan invited her to joint appearances and recording sessions. She debuted under his direction in 1976 with the performance of Mozart's Violin Concerto no. 4 in D major at the Luzerne Festival. Her first record, also recorded with Karajan and featuring two Mozart concertos, was released soon thereafter. The subsequent years were a long series of successes at the most prominent of world stages and collaboration with leading orchestras and conductors.

Anne-Sophie Mutter acquainted herself with Witold Lutosławski's music when Paul Sacher, for whom the Polish composer wrote his Chain II, engaged her to perform the solo part in the work. Years later, the 22-year-old artist reminisced: "In 1985 this was for me a great shock, since I had never performed contemporary music. Lutosławski was the first such composer for me. When I received the score, it seemed to me a collection of hieroglyphics. [...] I worried whether I would be able to grasp this music, and introduce something personal into it. [...] I understood that the composer is demanding something from me, and that this something is in me. Lutosławski struck a note which had not yet been sounded. This was a threshold in my musical development. After this composition I immediately wanted play another, and I dreamed of a full violin concerto".

Lutosławski in turn expressed his great admiration (which was rare for him) for the art of Anne-Sophie Mutter. In a conversation with Zofia Owińska, he recalled the rehearsals to Chain II in the following manner: "I will never forget this moment in my life. It was something utterly exceptional. I could not imagine that my music could sound like that. What was the source of the extraordinary strength and force of this music? Here we have an artist who possesses an extraordinarily rich emotional repertoire in her playing: the array of genres and moods [...] is stunning. [...] There isn't a moment where the performance is neutral. Everything, each detail in this music playing says something of great importance. [...] She gave me an experience of particular importance in my musical life. We later appeared together a number of times."

The world premiere of Chain II in January 1986, in Zurich, under the direction of Paul Sacher, was a great success which initiated a permanent collaboration of the composer and the very young violinist, for whom Lutosławski prepared an orchestral version of the Partita, so that she could perform it together with Chain II at his compositional concerts. The world premiere of the triptych, which arose out of the two works and the linking Interlude, was given in 1990 in Munich under the direction of the composer. Anne Sophie Mutter also received from Witold Lutosławski an entirely personal gift, he wrote and offered her a short Lullaby for Anne-Sophie. The composer also began working on a violin concerto, but fate did not allow him to finish it - he left only the sketches. (kt / trans. mk)