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Anne-Sophie Mutter's Musical Moments

Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter launched her career at age 13, with help from legendary conductor Herbert von Karajan. Unlike many prodigies, Mutter developed into one of classical music's most thoughtful, vibrant virtuosos. Her love of contemporary music has inspired works written especially for her by Witold Lutoslawski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Andre Previn and others. Mutter's devotion to Mozart resulted in recordings of her performing all of Mozart's works for violin. Her latest CD pairs J.S. Bach with a brand-new concerto, written for her by Sofia Gubaidulina. When she's not in the recording studio or out on the road, here's what Mutter enjoys listening to.

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Ellington: Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me

My God, I grew up with Ella Fitzgerald. For me, she is the queen of phrasing, the queen of emotion and the queen of simplicity in music. By the way, most of the recordings I listen to in my spare time are jazz, and it's again and again Ella.

Korngold: Captain Blood

This is cool stuff. I love Korngold. He's totally underestimated, at least in Europe, because he also was a film-score composer. People forget that many composers of the last century, as well as up until today, have earned (at least for a few years in their lives) money through film music, and there is nothing bad about it. I wanted to include Korngold, because I wanted to help make a Korngold renaissance. You could say that he didn't write film music; it's just that after a while, film music sounded like Korngold.

Piano Concerto No. 20 -"Rondo"

It's funny: On a list of favorites, one always goes back to pieces you heard as a child. Clara Haskil was the pianist who worked most often with my own violin teacher, Aida Stucki. Haskil is, for me, the best Mozart player there has been -- maybe together with Dinu Lipatti -- because of the clarity of her playing, the honesty of her musical temperament and the innocence of her sound quality.

La Boheme: "Si, mi chiamano Mimi"

I love "La Bohème" as an opera, but this choice has to do with soprano Mirella Freni, whom I met in the 1970s. She was Herbert von Karajan's favorite singer, and I have never heard a voice of such natural beauty and warmth. The way she was able, on the highest pitch without a glissando, to approach a note in pianissimo is absolutely unbelievable. She is, for me, the character of Mimi.

A Streetcar Named Desire: "I Want Magic"

"A Streetcar Named Desire" is for me the most important, most wonderful and most exciting contemporary opera written in the last 20 or 30 years. And I adore every bit of it. And, of course, you've got Renée Fleming in the lead role.

Anne-Sophie Mutter