Concerto in A minor for Violin, Cello and Orchestra, Op.102
Symphony No.1 in C minor, Op.68
Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) & Daniel Müller-Schott (cello)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: 4 February, 2011
Venue: Southbank Centre, London – Royal Festival Hall
Brahms’s First Symphony was altogether more engrossing. There have been more seismic performances (none more so than the radio broadcast, commercially released, of Furtwängler in Berlin in 1951 that is akin to a volcano erupting) but few as lucid, sensitive and as thought-through as Masur and a now-enlivened LPO produced here. If there were no interpretative surprises, and Masur’s approach is ‘traditional’ rather than Urtext, this account, both weighty and illuminated from within, enjoyed gravitas, seamless transitions, expressive parlance and a sense of journey that was flexible but assured of its direction. His gestures may have been minimal, but Masur (his eighty-fourth birthday waiting in the wings and very surprisingly with no date during the LPO’s 2011-12 season, not in London anyway) made the piece his own for its duration, a poetic and affectionate traversal of light and shade, shiningly detailed. If not quite the ultimate in crossing from dark-to-light, Masur’s richly-moulded approach held the attention, the slow movement, silkily played, particularly eloquent and blessed with lovely woodwind offerings and also Pieter Schoeman’s expressive and honeyed violin solo. Aimez-vous Brahms? Kurt Masur does and his love remains undiminished.