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Anne-Sophie Mutter - The Club Album: Live from Yellow Lounge - Album Review, 22nd September, 2015

Tuesday, 22 September 2015 , ora 9.59

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Anne-Sophie Mutter is an obviously modern artist, although her stature has been built during her four-decade career (in 1976, when she was thirteen, she was invited by Herbert von Karajan to perform a Mozart concerto at the Lucerne Festival). Such a great artist as she is could not have ignored such a great phenomenon as the Yellow Lounge is.

We've already talked about this new concept of introducing classical music to nightclubs and presenting it to young people in a different way - in a relaxed atmosphere, with the musicians and the audience talking to each other, including some short excerpts that are mixed in the same way popular music is, and even a DJ to present those excerpts when the live performers are not on stage. The young people are relaxedly having a drink while exchanging opinions and listening to classical music, which is presented plainly, without any ostentation, in a dimly lit environment. This concept, which was applied in Berlin for the first time, has extended to other great capitals of the world, too. Therefore, the sombre atmoshpere of traditional concert halls is forgotten, and so are its rules which originate in a past century. Although… If we believed what was written about the opera performances during the Baroque era, we would find out about certain unconceivable situations for a modern audience.

What was an opera performance like in Vivaldi's times ? A continuous noise… Giggles, laughs, applauds, whistles, shouts when the performers went on stage or got off it, the artists would be acclaimed in the middle of the arias, while the audience would be amused by everything during the recitatives… The audience members in the balcony boxes would throw different objects at each other, sometimes even small pieces of paper with sonnets dedicated to the female performers written on them… The members of the audience in the stalls would jostle against each other to catch them… Not a single member would be interested in the opera itself… The only ones to catch the audience's attention would be the great artists with their outstanding vocal performances. The beauty of the voices and the magnificence of the staging would be the only important thing.

But let us return to our main topic - the Yellow Lounge. Needless to say that this concept's success has drawn the attention of many record labels. And the violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter used the same idea in her latest album that was published by Deutsche Grammophon - The Club Album: Live from Yellow Lounge. This album, which was released on 28th August, is highly recommended as the first live record of a well-known artist. Anne-Sohie Mutter's first performance of this sort dates back to 2013, when she managed to break a record through the great number of young people that attended her concert. She held another similar performance at the Neue Heimat Club in Berlin. The recording of this concert was published by the Deutsche Grammophon record label. She performed with her ensemble, Mutter's Virtuosi, which we also had the occasion to listen to at the Romanian Athenaeum not so long ago. The guests that night were the harpsichord player Mahan Esfahani, as well as a former member of the ensemble, the pianist Lambert Orkis.

The repertoire was made up of very diverse works, as this extremely complex album includes some excerpts from Vivaldi's Concertos, as well as a series of works that belong to George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Debussy, John Williams, Bach and others. The vivacious rhythm, the impeccable sonority and Anne-Sophie Mutter's strong will led to this amazing result. As the president of the Deutsche Grammophon said, 'a part of classical music changed for ever. Anne-Sophie Mutter is breaking down boundaries, and taking risks without compromising her art - ultimately pushing on a door through which we hope others will follow.'

This album could become one of your favourite ones. It is also included in our Vote the best classical album of 2015 campaign on Radio Romania Music.

Marina Nedelcu
Translated by Ioana Săbău
MTTLC, the University of Bucharest