Mutter met Williams at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a few years ago, and politely begged him to write a piece for her.
“She said, ‘Write 10 bars — 10 measures of music. That’s all you have to do. Just a little portrait,’ ” the composer remembers. “The summer ended, and Christmas came, and a box of Christmas cookies arrived from Germany from Anne-Sophie. I thought, Oh my God, I have to make 10 bars of something for this lady. She’s many things, but one thing she is not is a woman you can say no to. And the 10 bars became 140 bars or so, in a piece that I call ‘Markings’ — read ‘scribblings.’ “
Sometime later, over dinner, Mutter suggested doing a whole album of new arrangements of Williams’ famous movie themes for solo violin and orchestra. The result is Across the Stars, out Aug. 30, on Deutsche Grammophon, which features hits including “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter and “Yoda’s Theme” from The Empire Strikes Back, as well as deeper cuts such as themes from Cinderella Liberty (1973) and Dracula (1979).