on 6 December 2010
Repin plays the especially difficult first movement with calm, carefulness and precision. He is able to engage the listener through revealing his passion and commitment in the soloist section. In the high keynote part, he demonstrates his excellent control of the string, thus performing the loud section with a particularly wonderful aesthetic. Equally terrific is the last movement. Repin executes his mastery here to prevent the fast, loud movement from turning into an uncontrolled one.
The orchestra accompanies the soloists beautifully, for instance, in the second movement of the Violin Concerto, the orchestra successfully creates a warning atmosphere and then allows Repin to enter into the music flawlessly. The orchestra's brilliant performance in the slow second movements of both Brahms's works successfully bridges the first and third movements.
After doing a superb job with Beethoven, Repin has further solidified his reputation through Brahms, and one hopes that there is much more terrific collaborative effort to come.
I don't know why exactly, but Brahms recordings are probably the most vulnerable to change in my collection and having grown dissatisfied with the Pentatone pairing of the violin and double concertos I opted for this one after sampling online.
The recording is very brilliant, everything (orchestra, soloists) foregrounded in a way that defies concert hall reality: but so what! This is home listening and I can say confidently you won't sit back and listen indifferently to Repin and Chailly. As someone who has experienced doubts about his own ability to concentrate for the duration of a concerto or an opera, I have found myself consistently interested in everything that is happening in Repin's tussle with the orchestra and I'm delighted to say the partnership with Mork for Brahms' Double Concerto has all the pugnacity of the classic Rostropovich/Oistrakh version.
Given the chance I'd like to hear the Shaham/Abbado disc as well, but until that opportunity comes around I'm recommending the new Repin one to anyone looking for a bold and confident Brahms performance which leaps from the speakers with all the insolence of a pop album.