Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Johannes Brahms, Riccardo Chailly, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra|
Brahms: Violin Concerto; Double Concerto
The highly anticipated second DG release from Vadim Repin, one of today's most celebrated violinists. Featuring the romantic Violin Concerto and Double Concerto for Violin and Cello. Repin is joined by cellist Truls Mork f... more »
Listen to Samples
The highly anticipated second DG release from Vadim Repin, one of today's most celebrated violinists. Featuring the romantic Violin Concerto and Double Concerto for Violin and Cello. Repin is joined by cellist Truls Mork for the Double Concerto. Riccardo Chailly conducts the Gewandhausorchester-- the same orchestra which premiered the Violin Concerto in 1879.
A top-flight virtuoso in two beautiful concerto performances
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 03/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Vadim Repin, now 37, has just recently gained a big-time recording contract, despite the fact that he won a highly prestigious violin competition, the Queen Elizabeth in Brussels, when he was only seventeen. His relatively slow rise is due to two factors, I think. First, he was lost in the pack of post-Soviet virtuosos drifting to the West, above all by Maxim Vengerov. Second, he's musically cultivated and restrained. We live in an age when young violinists don't aspire to be personalities on the order of Kreisler and Heifetz. In such an undiversified field, it doesn't do enough good simply to possess a sterling technique. Unless you capture the public's imagination the way Joshua Bell, Nigel Kennedy, and Hilary Hahn have done, your rise may be fairly slow.
Although Repin's previous DG release of the Beethoven concerto earned very good reviews, I found it unmemorable. Here he's backed in the Brahms concerto by a newly invigorated Leipzig Gewandhaus Orch. under Riccardo Chailly, whose Brahms symphonies struck me in the past as correct, tidy, and unexciting. How does the combination fare? On the plus side Repin's tone is gorgeously full, storng, and even. He's a Russian fiddler in the grand style. DG's sound is also exemplary -- digital recording has come a long way in capturing the true sound of the violin wihtout shrillness and edginess.
As for the interpretation, Repin hasn't actually changed his spots, nor has Chailly. The first movement, taken in a moderate 22 min., is rather cautious, tidy, and musically correct; it comes as a surprise that Repin makes the rare choice of eschewing the Joachim cadenza for the super-virtuosic one favored by Heifetz. The Adagio is beautifully phrased, beginning with the long oboe solo -- it and Chailly's accompaniment could hardly be better. Repin's entrance is subdued and quite poetic; for the first time he really caught my attention. I like the finale to be vigorous and gypsy-flavored. This performance comes close -- the tempo is lively, and Repin's bow skips freely over the strings, with extremely steady control of double stops. He doesn't build in excitement as he goes, but at least he doesn't fall back, either.
Overall, Repin's technique captures your attention if not necessarily his ideas. Going back to Heifetz with Reiner, Kremer with Bernstein, or Mullova with Abbado, I find this new account less involving, even though it is undeniably shapely and musical; no surprise that Repin early on became a protege of Menuhin's. It deserves five stars for the same reasons that Gil Shaham's refined, sweet-toned reading with Abbado does. That also came out on DG, and what pushed it over the line into being outstanding was the coupling of a masterful Double Concerto.
DG competes with itself by offering the same pairing here, the cellist being Truls Mork, a Norwegian virtuoso who has struck me as decidedly cool in style. In this case, his innate elegance and restraint matches Repin's, and together they give what the British like to call a "positive" interpretation, meaning that they avoid the shadows and melanchily of this autumnal work. Tempos are a fraction faster than with Shaham and his cellist, Jian Wang, and the slow movement lags a bit with Repin and Mork. But both are refined, sensitive readings, but, of course, you get the Berlin Phil. with Shaham, no small advantage.
Weighing everything in the balance, only serious collectors are going to bother with the fine points that separate one excellent recording from another. This is a beautiful CD, and without being the last word in power, originality, or charisma, Repin clearly belongs in the top rank where he has risen."
Brahms's string concertos come to life
Eric S. Kim | Southern California | 05/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Normally, superstar conductors or soloists aren't my primary concerns whenever I purchase a classical CD. I concentrate on the composer's music itself. As long as the people in the recording know the pieces well, I'll have no trouble with the CD. I feel that if the conductor or the soloists take up space on the front cover of the CD, and in the booklet for that matter, then some people would only focus on them rather than the composer or the music itself. But that's just me. If people buy classical recordings just for Joshua Bell or Georg Solti, then that's fine with me. Me, I just focus on the music. Few recordings that I own, however, do rely on the conductor's and soloists' status (such as Charles Dutoit for Respighi's Roman Trilogy, and Joan Sutherland for Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor) but I don't mind them now.
I didn't buy this just because of the brilliant musician Vadim Repin, but I did become interested in the soloists afterwards. As soon as I was finished listening to this CD, I became fully satisfied. Both works by Brahms are handled in an almost flawless manner by Repin, Mork, Chailly, and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. This isn't the first time I've heard Brahms' Violin Concerto; the first recording that I've heard long ago had horrible sound quality and a sloppy orchestra. It was on a cassette tape that is now lost, and I just had to get another recording not just for the nostalgia, but for the relaxation that I got from listening to it. In the 40-minute-long Violin Concerto, Repin really knows this piece well, no doubt about that. The violinist never hesitates, never overblows, and never underplays the emotion that's required. The only problem I had with this was that the violin sometimes overpowers the orchestra: the woodwinds especially are not heard too clearly. But with that aside, I enjoyed it from the first notes to the last.
Now the Double Concerto I have never heard since now, so I don't think I can give it any criticisms. The Scandinavian cellist Truls Otterbech Mork accompanies Repin in this 30+ minute piece. This is a bit less praised than some of the composer's more well-known works. But what you get is 30+ minutes of spectacular music. This was Brahms' final piece for a full orchestra, and it showcases a large portion of his musical genius. Both Repin and Mork perform with both intelligence and polish, and they never try to outdo each other like a drinking game.
Riccardo Chailly and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig give great performances in both pieces. The conductor follows the soloists very well, and the orchestra never fails to impress. I especially love the woodwinds and the brass.
Personally, I prefer this to Claudio Abbado's live recording. I've listened to Abbado's interpretation once (it's not the one from the cassette, I think), and I didn't really like it that much. It's a bit faster, and even a bit more Wagnerian than usual, which doesn't really sound appropriate. I prefer Brahms' music to have a more mellow, more poetic feel to it, which is why I prefer the Chailly/Repin/Mork recording over Abbado/Shaham/Wang.