Classical music: Isaac Stern and Anne-Sophie Mutter

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The Independent Culture
Peak week for violin fanciers: Isaac Stern and Anne-Sophie Mutter are in town on extended visits. It's Mutter, the dominant European name among violinists of the present day, who has the more thorough showcasing. Four times between 3 and 11 May she appears with the Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall. Concertos by Mozart and Brahms occupy her on the two later dates. But it's the opening ones that offer the most speculative programmes, with Prokofiev and Wolfgang Rihm the objects of her attention on 3 and 5 May.

This is quite in character. Mutter is a rarity among contemporary violinists in actively seeking out living composers to work with: as a species her colleagues are among the most cautious in the profession when it comes to repertoire, and you'll not often find them trusting anything more recent than Stravinsky. Even more impressively, she has made sure that the choice suits her. Rihm is certainly underexposed in the UK, and this local premiere of Time Chant: Music for Violin and Orchestra brings a good chance to hear what he is up to. Beethoven's Symphony No 5 is also on the programme, conducted like the others by Semyon Bychkov, who on 5 May follows the Prokofiev with that indestructible Sixties monument, Berio's Sinfonia.

The veteran Stern, meanwhile, appears at the Barbican - also on 3rd - and it would be well worth catching the Bach and Mozart concertos that he plays as soloist/director with the English Chamber Orchestra. Next night Stern has a full recital with the pianist Yefim Bronfman, playing Mozart, Janacek, Schubert and Bartok - and if it has to be one of his dates only, this more intimate affair might just be the one to go for.

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