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Johannnes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Op. 77 [39:57]
Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra in A Minor Op. 102 [32:53]
Vadim Repin (violin); Truls Mørk (cello)
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly
rec. Leipzig Gewandhaus, Großersaal, August 2008. DDD
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4777470 [72:50]
 
Experience Classicsonline


This is well traversed territory but in both works Repin is notable for his clean and steady outpouring of tone. This is not the purity that expels emotion. Here it invites it in and embraces its presence. Chailly imparts a peaceful pulse to the Violin Concerto but allows room for Repin's romantic temperament. The previous summer Brahms had written the Second Symphony at the same location as for the Concerto. This peaceful cradling can be felt in the second movement and through Repin where he holds the balance between fragility and security in ecstatic equipoise. The finale confirms the backward placing of the orchestra as against the sound image of Repin's violin. This is a small demerit when weighed against the excellence of the Gewandhaus and the precise yet yielding violin playing of Repin. 

We then come to a work close to the top of my Brahms list alongside the Third and Fourth Symphonies, Second Piano Concerto and Tragic Overture. In the Double Concerto it seems to me that the orchestra are given a closer balance than in the Violin Concerto. Yet when the two solo instruments enter they are welcomed by the engineers with open arms. This is a very natural recording from every aspect. I love the way the chaffing of the orchestra under the two instruments at 4.32 can be heard so clearly when in other hands their presence often goes for nothing or very little. The clarinet must take a bow here. Mørk is a noisy breather but that detracts little from this vibrant music-making. The Gewandhaus prove themselves a great engine of speed, poetry and awesome command of a unity of power. Here this is in the pizzicato paragraphs that underpin the last bars of the first movement of the Double. The wild rumpus of the finale is relished as is the russet warmth of the heart-sung Vivace non troppo at 2:01 in III. Fervour that’s the word!

Rose and Szell on Sony remain my favourites but this is the best sounding of the Brahms doubles and offers a fine Violin Concerto to match.

Rob Barnett


 

 
 


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