Sophia –
Biographie eines Violinkonzertes

By Jan Schmidt-Garre

Sofia Gubaidulina (born in 1931, Russia) is known as one of the world's most important contemporary composers. The world premiere of Gubaidulina's 2nd violin concerto took place in Lucerne in August of 2007. The film is unique in the way that it focuses on the piece of music itself, instead of constructing a biography of an artist. We get introduced to her colourful and complex system of musical notation; we meet her assistant, who has to translate her beautiful hand drawings into a printable format; and we witness the first encounter of the concerto by violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, for whom she wrote the piece.

The film describes the full circle of production, from the composition’s inception, through the many stages of the creative process, to its world premiere, when her new work and vision meets an orchestra: the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. “First I hear the end of the piece. I hear it all at once, all mixed up and hard to recognize. As if everything were tied in a knot. It's too complicated. I can't write that moment down. I have to make it clearer to eventually get back to what I originally heard.” (Sofia Gubaidulina)