Yakov Kreizberg's catalog with PentaTone tends to represent familiar classics, ranging from Mozart's violin concertos to Strauss' waltzes, so it's not surprising to find an account of Dmitry Shostakovich's widely acclaimed and highly accessible Symphony No. 5 in D minor included on this 2007 hybrid SACD. What's less expected is that the rest of the program is occupied by the comparatively unfamiliar Symphony No. 9 in E flat major, a far less popular work that has left many puzzled by its ambiguity.
This SACD transfer of Anne-Sophie Mutter’s Beethoven violin sonatas, taken from a series of live recordings from 1998, does not transcend the questionable interpretations. In each of these famous sonatas, Mutter takes excessive liberties with respect to dynamics and phrasing, and while some listeners may appreciate the thought and care she puts into these readings, it sounds as if she is trying a bit too hard to be “musical”. For example, just before the exposition repeat of the “Spring” sonata, several instances of disproportionate agogic pauses, inconsistent use of vibrato, random adherences to sforzando markings, and a sporadic disregard for (or recasting of) dynamics combine to produce an overly fussy performance that lacks momentum and a sense of direction.