On classical music

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Indy Lifestyle Online
It all began in 1986 when the extraordinary octogenarian Swiss conductor, Paul Sacher - who, in his life, has commissioned virtually every major composer from Stravinsky to Berio and beyond - recommended her to the late Witold Lutoslawski as the perfect soloist for his new concertante work for violin and orchestra, Chain 2. Already a veteran of the classical repertoire at only 23, Anne-Sophie Mutter (right) was instantly smitten by the contemporary music bug. More premieres followed: a second Lutoslawski piece, Partita, and a brand-new concerto, En Reve, by Norbert Moret in 1988; and then in 1992 Wolfgang Rihm's Gesungene Zeit, a specially written 'sequel' to the Alban Berg concerto.

Where many violinists happily plough the same old historical furrow, Mutter has been busy sowing seeds for future soloists to harvest - repertoire-building is, for her, part of the responsibility she owes herself, her public and her instrument. At the time of his death, Lutoslawski had promised to write her another concerto; Penderecki has been promising her one for years - 'and it's finally, finally, finally coming,' she says. 'He promises he'll deliver it by January or February, just in time for the premiere in Leipzig in June]' Promises, promises. Rihm was supposed to have written her a second piece as a 30th-birthday present last year - 'but all I got was the title page]' One composer who did deliver is the young American, Statton Currier, whose Aftersong Mutter plays (with Schumann, Stravinsky and Beethoven) on Friday. It's the first piece she's been brave enough to commission herself and was something of a gamble. Currier is not exactly a household name: now in his mid-thirties, he'd never even been outside New York until last year. But Mutter's glad she took the chance: 'The first movement is very motoric, very percussive, very explosive, like a burst of machine-gun fire - it reflects very much where he comes from. But then the second movement is like the aftershock of the earthquake - very lyrical, very expressive, just one long aria. . .It's funny,' she adds, 'how all these composers end up writing arias for me.'

Friday 7.30pm Barbican Hall, EC2 (071-638 8891) pounds 6-pounds 30

(Photograph omitted)

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