The silly little argument that underlies the cultural extension of music is that only a person born and immersed in the specific culture that forms the basis of a piece can truly emote the composer’s desired expression. In simple terms as Salieri was supposed to have said, ” a German writing Italian Opera? Preposterous!” Obviously the argument that Lang Lang can not perform Liszt or Christopher Parkening can not perform Rodrigo as the music is best expressed is absurd. Yet, intermittently a performer so owns the music canon of their birthplace that the audience wants no other interpretation to interfere with the marriage of culture, music, and performer. Anne-Sophie Mutter, the beautiful and oh so talented German violin virtuoso has been a premier interpretor of the German composer hall of famers, the three B’s – Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms – since her international debut at age 13, and if you add appropriately her Mozart performances, she has become the face of the face of German musical cultural expression. And what a face it is.
Anne-Sophie Mutter was born in the small German village of Rheinfelden, just up the Rhein river from Basel, Switzerland in 1963. Her musical talent was apparent at a very early age and her magnetic stage presence soon after. At age 13, she was “discovered” by Herbert Von Karajan and placed on the stage with the Berlin Philharmonic, performed at Salzberg at age 17 and has “owned” the german music literature ever since. A technical virtuoso, she is also one of the most strikingly beautiful performers gracing the stage, and the marriage of the two has created an indelible image that this is how Brahms, Beethoven, Bach (and Mozart) should be performed, by a beautiful woman expressing to perfection the romantic motifs and musical lines of the German greats.
Her music strengths are as arresting as her beauty – a perfect clarity of melodic line and pastoral reflections that bring great humanity to the gruff german composers. The sonatas of Brahms and Beethoven particularly come alive under her technique. The gentle flow of the Rhein, the picturesque timeless villages, the ordered countryside and introspective emotions come to life with her bow and magnificient Stradivarius. Though music remains a universal expression of man’s understanding of his life and soul, Anne-Sophie Mutter makes it just a little more clear, the great beauty and phenomenal contribution to western civilization, of the German soul.