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Mutter and Friends

Anne-Sophie Mutter performing at the Salzburg Festival on August 16, 2019 (Salzburg Festival, Marco Borrelli)

At the Salzburg Festival, I talked with Anne-Sophie Mutter, the starry German violinist. You can find this conversation here. Mutter is one of the outstanding musicians of our time. She is also an extraordinary talker, a first-rate interviewee.

She first played at the Salzburg Festival in the mid-1970s, as a girl. Her mentor was Herbert von Karajan, the legendary conductor. I ask her for a few Karajan stories. She obliges.

In the 2000s, she was married to André Previn, the great and versatile American musician who died earlier this year. He could do practically anything. Was there anything he couldn’t do?

Yes, says Mutter: “play the fiddle and cook.” I ask her whether she ever played jazz with André. (In addition to being a classical musician, Previn was a famous jazzman, especially early in his career.) No, she says — she was afraid he would think less of her. (I doubt he would have. I also doubt that Anne-Sophie would be a flop at jazz.)

Just recently, Mutter made a recording with John Williams, the leading film composer. They performed adaptations of his scores for violin. That is another subject of our discussion.

At the end, Mutter gives a little tribute — sings a little hymn — to Bach. This is the composer she has been very close to, and who has been very close to her, since she was a little girl. “If there is something like heaven, I’m sure Bach has the key.”

Again, here.

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