Anne-Sophie Mutter Plays Takemitsu

At the end of April, German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter will be appearing with conductor Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony. The program will pair the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with an exciting lesser-known work: Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu’s Nostalghia for solo violin and orchestra, written in 1987 in memory of the Russian film-maker Andrei Tarkovsky. Takemitsu was inspired by Tarkovsky’s use of wide, long, gradually unfolding landscape shots. Here is what Mutter said about the piece in a Huffington Post interview published on Friday:

It’s very subtle. Not flashy at all. It’s meditative. I see it as an enormous addition to a violin repertoire of the last 100 years. I had the privilege of performing it with Ozawa at a benefit last year. He gave the music a deep and moving interpretation which will forever shape my impression of the piece. I fell in love with it so much that I’m on a mission! I’m playing it quite a bit both in the United States and Europe. Orchestras are very open to it. Presenters can be a little deaf, but I can be rather persistent! It’s such a strong piece, very subtle, all about privacy and whispers. It goes well with the Tchaikovsky.

Nostalghia opens up haunting, yet serene, cinematic vistas. The shifting sounds of a divided string orchestra under the solo violin line evoke subtle changes of water and fog. In Russian, the title translates to an intense homesickness or sense of missing a loved one- something emotionally deeper than the English “nostalgia.” Takemitsu described his approach to music this way:

I would like to follow both Japanese tradition and Western innovation, and to maintain both musical styles simultaneously has become the core focus of my compositional operations. It is a contradiction I do not want to solve – on the contrary, I want the two styles to combat each other. I want to achieve a sound that is as intense as the silence.

Here is Mutter’s 2016 Tokyo performance of Nostalghia with Seiji Ozawa and the Vienna Philharmonic:


  • Takemitsu’s music on iTunes
  • Anne-Sophie Mutter’s complete discography iTunes

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

Leave a Comment