Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Edouard Lalo, Ernest Chausson, Maurice Ravel|
Lalo / Chausson / Ravel: SYMPHONIE ESPAGNOLE / POEME / Tzigane
Siberia, usually associated with ice and prison camps, has recently taken up a new export: violin prodigies. One of these is Vadim Repin, now 27 years old, and he is certainly fabulous. His technical virtuosity is stunning... more »
Siberia, usually associated with ice and prison camps, has recently taken up a new export: violin prodigies. One of these is Vadim Repin, now 27 years old, and he is certainly fabulous. His technical virtuosity is stunning and effortless, his facility unlimited; this tempts him to favor extremely fast tempi that sometimes become hectic, but the runs are always crystal-clear. Equally striking is his tone: radiant, warm, and ravishingly beautiful; it is pure in every register, on every string, under all circumstances, and capable of a great variety of nuance and inflection. All this formidable instrumental equipment serves the expressive demands of the music. Creating and changing moods with natural poise, he gives every movement of the Lalo its own character, playing with charm, mischievousness, humor, wistful nostalgia, somber inwardness, intensity, fire. The Chausson projects a fine blend of impressionistic languor and passionate abandon; the Ravel is a brilliant romp with idiomatic gypsy flair. The orchestra supplies bursts of color and supports him well, but the tutti passages are often so loud that it is wise to keep a finger on the volume button. --Edith Eisler
The Dancer has a Broken Left Leg a Sprained Right Ankle.
James R. Niles | Dickinson, TX United States | 02/03/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I have listened only to the Lalo, not having mustered the courage to try the rest. This is the most disappointing performance, recorded, live or dreamt I have experienced in the last ten years. It is a good example of either bad or good engineering. If you like to play with equalizations and special reverb effects, this may be your cup of tea, because the orchestra overbalances the violin throughout. In fact, nearly every measure sounds remastered. The opening which usually, in two measures, announces a VIOLIN and the promise of all its colors and potential sounds as if it is coming from a cave down by a dry riverbed in Afghanistan. The added reverberation is everybody's favorite small town gymnasium. There is no ensemble or evident consultation in this recording. Mr. Repin might as well have played alone or with an old 78 add a part record. Lalo gives a small direction "molto ritmico". That means very strict rhythm. The 1st Mvt. is all over the place. Overall, the orchestra is jerky, dragging its broken leg and hopping on its sprained one. There is no Spanish grace or charm and absolutely no Moorish schmaltz. Where a marcato might be okay in the third Mvt, Mr. Repin can't decide whether he wants the main theme legato or detached. Mr. Lalo, however, made it pretty clear. Repin sizzles in the last Mvt., but he and the orchestra are never together, and Lalo's orchestration is a wonder of the literature. What wasted virtuosity. The orchestra's entrance is actually muddy. Don't waste money on this thing; get a recording of first year Suzuki students doing Twinkle-Twinkle instead."
Violinist | Washington DC | 03/20/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great CD. Repin is a great player, and he does justice to all the compositions. The Lalo is wonderfull, although the last movement is not totaly clean, the style is great and it is a great listen. The Chausson does not have enough tension, and the overdone reverbration is obvious. The Ravel is strong, but it doesn't beat the Heifetz version!"
Can't Gipsies count to four?
Discophage | France | 04/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As with the competing program played by Maxim Vengerov and Antonio Pappano which I reviewed recently (Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole; Saint-Saens: Violin Concerto; Ravel: Tzigane; Maxim Vengerov), I'll limit my comments to Ravel's Tzigane, as I have no particular insight into Chausson's Poem or Lalo's Symphonie espagnole - nor, with the latter, any particular appreciation of that popular but (in my opinion) vapid clap-trapper that would incite me to delve deeper. Judging from his Strauss Violin and Piano Sonata (Violin & Piano), Repin is an intense and forward-moving violinist, who, a little like Heifetz, never lets his lyricism spill over, and Nagano is a precise but cold conductor, with no penchant for the heart-on-sleeve sentimentality: these are exactly the qualities this kind of music needs, so I suspect this must be a good version, but I cannot vouch for it.
In Tzigane Repin isn't as ugly and vulgar as his compatriot Vengerov, but he goes one step in that direction. While the word that came to my mind listening to Vengerov's introductory cadenza was "brutal", the one I jotted down during Repin's similar passage was "brusque". He is one of those (numerous) violinists who seem to believe that to convey the Gipsy character of Ravel's piece they need to put paid to his rhythm and play accordion with tempo (as soon as the fifth measure). As the bio contained in the liner notes mentions, Repin and Vengerov shared the same (supposedly legendary) teacher, Zakhar Bron. Wonder if it's related? Sometimes with Repin it felt like tachycardia (when your heartbeat suddenly jumps berserk for a few seconds). I find it very insulting, both to the Gipsies (does Repin assume they can't they count to four like everybody else?) and to Ravel (does Repin think he didn't know how to notate precisely what he wanted?). Too bad, as Repin does have the biting attacks that the piece and its Gipsy character call for. Things get better with the entrance of the orchestra, and here Repin has all the swagger and drive and he is free of Vengerov's vulgar excesses. He is also laudable for his fine teamwork with the orchestra (virtuosic LSO) and his willingness to blend into its textures when needed rather than constantly dominate them. Like about everybody else he cheats in some places, like playing plucked chords where Ravel notated pizzicato triplets (8:33). Like many others he plays an unnotated "sul ponticello" at the beginning of the coda (8:41) but at least he doesn't add a vulgar tipsy portamento like Vengerov, and his coda has an irresistible frenzy, the "poco meno vivo" at 9:16 being hardly observed, like the wall clock from "L'Enfant et les sortilèges" gone totally berserk from having its pendulum broken off.
Excellent notes, making a very good case for Lalo's Symphonie espagnole, rightly insisting - and that may be a partial answer to some of the comments of the other reviewers - that the piece was NOT meant by Lalo as a concerto but, in the manner of Berlioz' Harold in Italy, as a Symphony Concertante, in which the soloist is part of the orchestra. But further, I obviously do not have the same kind of hearing as these other reviewers : the soloist is absolutely NOT covered by the orchestra, the balance is just fine and the reverb is NOT obtrusive. The orchestra does jump to striking and perhaps artificial presence at times, but that is when the violin is not playing.