Would You Be Disappointed By A Concert of “Pretty Music?”

A recent NY Times review of a concert by Anne-Sophie Mutter lambasted the violinist for performing a program of nothing but "pretty music"(Photo: M:Imagez (flickr))
A recent NY Times review of a concert by Anne-Sophie Mutter lambasted the violinist for performing a program of nothing but "pretty music"(Photo: M:Imagez (flickr))

In a recital of violin classics last weekend, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter brought her stint as New York Philharmonic Artist-in-Residence to a close.

The residency not only brought Mutter’s electric presence stateside for a season, but also saw the U.S. and world premieres of a number of works by important composers of our times.

In a New York Times review of Mutter’s final recital as artist-in-residence, Zachary Woolfe complained about Mutter’s program of standard repertory by Claude Debussy, Felix Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms and Pablo de Sarasate:

It’s not that it wasn’t a perfectly good performance of a perfectly fine program. It’s just that Ms. Mutter’s tireless advocacy of contemporary composers and provocative programming has led us to expect more from her than a comfortable Sunday afternoon of pretty music.

So what do you think? Since Mutter has embraced the music of contemporary composers, must she now perform new music at every turn? Is there something wrong with hearing a concert of “pretty music” once in a while? Or was it perhaps just a slow day in the New York Times newsroom?

Discuss.

Comments
  • Don

    William Revelli, the great band conductor from the University of Michigan, said he always programmed “head music”, “heart music”, and “foot music” on every program.  It sounds like this was all heart music.

  • Cldude33

    Since when are “pretty” and “contemporary” mutually exclusive?

  • Cristian Patel

    I think the current rejection of what some consider “pretty music” in favor of more daring contemporary styles has really caused us to lose interest in a lot of gorgeous music that cannot be replaced. I feel that is a true shame.