Lang Lang, Repin, Maisky/Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov 4778099

. . . a recording which reveals a side of pianist Lang Lang¿s prodigious talent rarely heard before -- his finesse as a collegial interpreter of chamber music . . . Lang Lang could not be in better company to reveal the inexhaustible inventiveness of Tchaikovsky¿s Piano Trio No. 50 in A minor or the tender consolations of Rachmaninov¿s Trio élégiaque in G-minor . . .

. . . the result is impressive beyond expectation . . . all three play with such confidence, verve and -- wait for it -- deference, that they bounce off and meld with each other perfectly in a performance that brings out all the tension, tenderness and exuberance of these two works.

. . . [Lang Lang is] a seriously gifted musician . . . There¿s Mischa Maisky, the mercurial and emotional Latvian cellist . . . volcanic. On violin, please welcome Vadim Repin -- another strong personality, and a violinist in the forcefully lyrical Russian style associated with David Oistrakh . . . as they light up Tchaikovsky¿s A minor Piano Trio and the teenaged Rachmaninov¿s G minor Elegiac Trio, it¿s obvious that this joint enterprise is more than a business convenience. Here is passionate communal music-making, most exhilarating in Tchaikovsky¿s final section, when the older musicians become gloriously infused with Lang Lang¿s youth and sparkle. At other points, the kaleidoscope of personalities keeps turning. In the Rachmaninov Maisky¿s soulful, yearning cello carries most of the music¿s emotional weight, with Repin in sweet support. Lang Lang himself stays bright, agile, but modest, as he does in his nonchalant dispatch of the theme for Tchaikovsky¿s central variations . . . it's the human spark in the performances overall that delights the ear, and gives new hope for Lang Lang¿s development. Keep on playing chamber music, my boy!

A celebrity trio that is much more than the sum of its parts . . . what impresses most of all about these performances is their single-mindedness. Nowhere is there even a suggestion of conflicting temperaments with their own agenda. What shines through here is the give and take, the kinship, of outstanding chamber music playing . . . [Tchaikovsky]: All three players display a palpable sense of empathy, as in knowing at any given moment what their leading or supporting role is. The theme and variations of the second movement display a fantastic range of character. I love the way Lang Lang, far from "taking centre stage" at the outset, simply presents the unremarkable theme as if at all costs to preserve its folksy naivety . . . Repin (who displays more than a touch of the gypsy in his soul during the movement) is a perfect complement to Maisky's soulful outpourings and collective virtuosity is certainly felt in the "finale and coda" where the triumvirate really goes into overdrive -- nimble, articulate, uplifting. The big return of the work's opening lament has Lang Lang thrillingly invoking the B flat minor Piano Concerto while Repin and Maisky soar heavenward. Repin is quoted as saying that Lang Lang's playing shines as though full of light -- and that's the overriding spirit here, even in darkness.

This could have been a clash of egos, but it's an emotionally engaging experience . . . The real treat is Tchaikovsky's "A Minor Piano Trio," which bursts with Romantic effusion.

. . . throughout, Vadim Repin's playing is both large-boned and sensitive . . .

. . . [Lang Lang starts] out as support to cellist Mischa Maisky's . . . opening phrase in the Tchaikovsky, underpinning both string players' full and focused exuberance in the long but here unusually convincing variation-finale of the second movement. He also turns in unsurpassably scintillating transcendentalism and mazurka charm in two of the variations . . . the superlative violinist Vadim Repin . . . has any violinist managed a more lustrous fortissimo in Tchaikovsky's fourth variation? . . . The recorded sound, capturing majestic confidence from all three musicians as Tchaikovsky's lament makes its climactic reappearance, is a joy throughout.

. . . these collaborations cast contemporary classical music superstars Vadim Repin and Lang Lang into a new light . . . [Mischa Maisky] brings a magisterial authority to the Russian repertory he champions . . . . The fact that each of the three principals exerts a concertante voice of his own brings the sonic luster of the piece to an often symphonic pitch, abetted by Repin¿s and Maisky¿s plaintive tone, intertwined with a strong but subdued expressivity from Lang Lang . . . Sumptuously recorded by engineer Stephen Flock.

This new, starry recording, with Chinese megastar pianist Lang Lang (due back in Dublin next month) making his chamber music début, gets it just right. The big personalities mesh, and the music positively glows. Rachmaninov¿s youthful G minor Trio sounds equally fine.

. . . Lang Lang is on his best behavior for two Russian piano trios . . . This is music-making on the highest level.

. . . three superstar virtuosos succeed in merging without submerging their over-life-size personalities . . . The playing is spectacular. Repin's tone, with its vibrant, expressive intensity and incredible purity, is uniquely beautiful; Lang Lang's, whether delicate or powerful, is consistently singing -- even the big chords do not sound harsh. Saving his virtuosity for the solo passages and cadenzas, he never overmatches the strings. Maisky . . . contributes a strong foundation and much dramatic tension . . . the playing is full of variety; even the bombastic Fugue is clear and compelling . . . these players' soloistic brilliance is always at the service of the music. They respond to its romanticism with unrestrained ardor, freedom, and abandon, without succumbing to sentimentality or excess. Most remarkably, they never forget that chamber music is essentially "a civilized discourse between friends". In both works, their ensemble is impeccable; the unanimous phrasing, seamless dynamic buildups, and melodic takeovers give it a conversational quality. Far from trying to upstage one another, they discreetly and skillfully underplay the accompanying passages, projecting mutual respect and support. This is a truly special, thrilling recording.

. . . this is a moving, often exciting, sometimes outright playful performance of a work that is sometimes done as a monochromatic funeral dirge . . . the recorded sound is spectacular, with a depth and breadth that makes one feel like one is hearing the players in an empty, mildly reverberant hall . . . one can settle back and enjoy the tragic intensity of the bookends that open and close the piece. In between, the players bring a wide range of emotion and variety of moods to the 12 substantial variations . . . The performers present Rachmaninoff's early one-movement "Trio Elegiaque" with the same expressiveness and emotional engagement . . . if you agree that the purpose of music is to transmit emotion more directly and purely than any other art form, you'll find plenty to enjoy here.

. . . overall, this is a fine performance by two top-drawer string players who are totally at home in this work. I trust their instincts . . .

Der träumerische Repin, der explosive Maisky und der bei allem jugendlichem Ungestüm letztlich analytische Lang sorgen für Kontraste, machen vor allem Rachmaninoffs verhangene Komposition spannend.

Das von drei Stars abgeschmeckte Ergebnis mundet nicht schlecht, zumal hier Werke mit einem gewissen Grunderregtheitsgrad vorliegen . . .

Geiger Vadim Repin und Cellist Mischa Maisky leiten so viel Energie nun in neue Bahnen und verwandeln den Tastenzauberer Lang Lang mit Klaviertrios von Rachmaninow und Tschaikowsky in einen Interpreten von zauberhafter Kammermusik.

Diese drei sind ein Dreamteam der besonderen Art. Vor allem, wenn sie russische Klaviertrios spielen! . . . Man hört sofort: Die Chemie stimmt zwischen den so unterschiedlichen Künstlern. Aufregend wie einen Krimi gestalten sie das emotionsgeladene g-Moll-Trio von Rachmaninow. Traumhaft schön ist auch Tschaikowskys Trio in a-Moll. Dessen Variationen gestaltet der Geiger Vadim Repin mit geschmackvollem Vibrato, pathosfrei und ohne sentimentale Drücker. Lang Lang begleitet spielfreudig, mit viel Noblesse und Zurückhaltung. Und Mischa Maisky sorgt mit großem, klangprächtigem Celloton fürs sichere Fundament.

Le virtuose chinois assume sa partie sans outrance et avec une belle sonorité. Il montre avec ses collègues que tout n'est qu'élégie chez Rachmaninov, cela avec un souci constante de l'équilibre expressif et une vibration rythmique interne . . . Lang, Repin et Maisky mettent en ¿uvre un lyrisme animé, sans pathos . . .