BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto Repin Muti


Violinkonzert · Violin Concerto

Violinsonate · Violin Sonata
No. 9 op. 47 »Kreutzer«
Vadim Repin
Martha Argerich
Wiener Philharmoniker
Riccardo Muti
Int. Release 15 Oct. 2007
2 CDs / Download
0289 477 6596 7
CD DDD 0289 477 6596 7 GH 2
“One of today’s most compelling musicians” (Daily Telegraph) makes his DG solo debut


CD 1: Beethoven: Violin Concerto op.61

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61


Vadim Repin, Wiener Philharmoniker, Riccardo Muti

Gesamtspielzeit: 45:49

CD 2: Beethoven: Violin Sonata op.47 'Kreutzer'

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 "Kreutzer"

Vadim Repin, Martha Argerich

Gesamtspielzeit: 38:18

. . . in the quasi-religious Adagio . . . that's where Mr. Repin comes into his own in a deeply moving performance. The Vienna Philharmonic under Riccardo Muti plays the first movement for grandeur and majesty. Mr. Repin contributes a very detailed commentary on his fiddle . . .

Repin plays with pure intonation, a warm, round sound, and lots of imagination. His violin is always rising or falling, with more or less vibrato, as he explores the hills and valleys of Beethoven's sunniest music outside the Sixth Symphony. The first movement, based on a melody as simple as a nursery rhyme, is made fascinating by his subtle changes in texture -- a series of marcato tugs here; a lilting, songlike phrase there -- always in strict time. He is never sentimental or fussy. The music comes first, and he serves it well. Riccardo Muti, Repin's choice for conductor, gets extraordinarily precise, forceful playing from the Vienna Philharmonic. This is a warm-hearted orchestra to begin with, and the combination of its golden, generous sound with Muti's cool command and marbled grandeur is a fresh, vivid, winning experience. The recording in the Vienna Musikverein captures all the fine grain of soloist and orchestra within a resonant envelope.

The Vadim Repin disc may become a classic . . . he has depth in a performance full of romantic-era emotionalism, seconded by his glamorous collaborators, including conductor Riccardo Muti . . . and the always electrifying Martha Argerich . . . Repin . . . shows his emotions as much as he acts on them.

. . . Repin has made a very conscious choice to exploit the work¿s reflective nature and has delivered a performance crafted with great care, abundant warmth and loads of heart. From the very opening, his tone is sweet and although perfectly balanced with the orchestra, consistently understated so as to give the music pride of place above his own considerable ability to play it. Even the first movement cadenza (by Fritz Kreisler) is played with the utmost dignity and respect. This is some of the sweetest, most expressive violin playing that I have heard in years. The second movement is heartrendingly calm and gentle, again marked by Repin¿s sweet and supple tone and his spot-on intonation . . . Vadim Repin maintains his self-control, giving credence to Yehudi Menuhin¿s quote that Repin is "simply the best, the most perfect violinist I have ever heard." High praise indeed, but if this performance is evidence, such praise is well deserved. I¿ve heard perhaps twenty recordings of this concerto, and I cannot recall one that has held my attention so thoroughly, or one that has made me want immediately to listen a second time. Muti and Repin are a match made in heaven and are to be commended for the exquisite good taste with which they present this war-horse! . . . Repin in particular has thought this music through completely and put his own stamp on it, a stamp that stands to become more and more collectible as this fine artist matures!

There's no doubting the beauty of his tone, especially in pianissimo, and the manner in which he never attempts to impose his presence on the music's overall texture is admirable . . .

A fascinating study in comparisons, and an auspicious DG debut for Vadim Repin and Riccardo Muti. Muti's conducting of the Concerto is . . . always flexible and accommodating of his soloist, while the Vienna Philharmonic's playing is consistently warm in texture . . . Repin's refined expressiveness and Argerich's powerhouse pianism happily relate . . . I count Repin among the most accomplished and musically sincere of violinists . . .

The solo playing has a lyrical ardour, expressive range and technical assurance that are well-nigh miraculous . . . there's no doubt about Repin. Here is a player at the very summit of his career, performing with an authority, depth of understanding and unostentatious virtuosity that left me gasping in wonder on more than one occasion. His playing has a range of colour, subtlety of nuance rhythmic vitality and clarity of articulation that's quite marvellous . .. one of the most remarkable accounts of the solo part to have come my way in along time. In conception it's a big account in the grand tradition, using the Kreisler cadenzas. The slow movement is poetically done, and the last movement has a rhythmic spring in its step from the start that is most exciting . . . The "Kreutzer" Sonata makes for a splendid coupling -- and comes on a second CD. This new sonata recording by Repin and Martha Argerich is a major event and neither of these great artists disappoints. Argerich is at her most agile when necessary and draws a wonderfully exciting range of sounds from the piano. Repin's playing has many of the same virtues as Argerich's: a sense of reinventing the music while never distorting it and an unerring feeling for its trajectory, as well as a superb ear for colour and of musical character. The result is a first movement that is utterly gripping, by turns fiery and songlike, including a good deal of playing, that is so committed that the word 'tigerish'
comes to mind, for want of any better description . . . there's the most marvellous light and shade too . . . the Repin/Argerich "Kreutzer" is Desert Island stuff . . .

. . . Vadim Repin's infallible ear and flawless technique make it the most beautifully considered version of Beethoven's concerto to appear for years. And with Martha Argerich joining him for the Kreutzer, this is a really brilliant disc.

Repin gets deluxe treatment in a two-CD Beethoven package on Deutsche Grammophon of the Violin Concerto (with Riccardo Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic) and the "Kreutzer" Sonata (with pianist Martha Argerich). These are muscular performances, aggressive and astounding.

His playing is always sensuous here, and the Vienna Philharmonic is at its crushed-velvet best. Repin and Muti bring out the work's lyricism . . . This is one of the most beautiful traditional interpretations of the concerto that I have heard . . . In Sonata 9, Repin picks the best living pianist as his partner, Martha Argerich . . . Anyone looking for a beautiful interpretation of both works would do well to get this . . . Excellent sound . . .

His account is wonderfully thoughtful and expressively supple, without a hint of the glossy surfaces such a lineup might suggest. Muti's contributions are a model of tact and discrimination, and the Vienna players are at their most engaged and consistently musical. The account of Beethoven's largest-scale violin sonata is a true meeting of minds, too . . . The piano's first entry is positively explosive, and from then on the two musicians fire ideas at each other in a truly exhilarating way . . . it is a uniquely exciting one.

Repin, on his first recording for Deutsche Grammophon, stresses the nobility of the work. The Novosibirsk native plays with virtuosic technique and enormous respect for this great concerto . . . Repin spins a beautiful melodic line [in the Larghetto] . . . Conductor Riccardo Muti clearly shares his soloist¿s views and leaves us in no doubt that we are listening to a masterpiece as he draws mighty . . . finely blended sonorities from the Vienna Philharmonic . . . In the Sonata Repin has the advantage of being partnered by Martha Argerich. Together they¿re a dream team. They opt for a grand, no-holds-barred approach in this quasi-symphonic music in which Repin really comes alive.

Elegance, feeling, and perfection are a given with Vadim Repin¿s performances -- and his rendition of the Beethoven Violin Concerto is no different from that. Repin plays his Beethoven with brio, confidence, and great dignity. He does not give into the work or surrender to its mysteries, he subdues it with sheer skill and the forcefulness of his musicality.
This is not to be mistaken with forcefulness of tone. The opposite rather is the case: Repin does not -- neither live nor through a recording engineer¿s tricks -- aim for a particularly big tone . . .
Vadim Repin¿s is a middle of the road romantic approach -- and among the very best in that spectrum. His tone, like a needle through leather -- round, steady, deliberate -- reminds more of Nathan Milstein, even though Repin professes to ¿always thinks about Menuhin in terms of this work¿.

Riccardo Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra lend heaven-storming support for his début recording in that work for Deutsche Grammophon . . . Repin sounds not only authoritative in these solos, but poetic as well. In the first movement's tranquillo, for example, the orchestra may be working out the four-note motive, but Repin still holds the listener's attention, whatever the precise nature of the role he plays . . . He makes Kreisler's cadenza sound particularly idiomatic, with just enough portamentos, even in the double-stopped sections, to suggest the composer's genial warmth. In the slow movement's G-Major section, at its outset a pure accompanied violin solo, Repin is a spellbinder, suspending his audience in time, with the orchestra pizzicatos resonating warmly far beneath . . . Repin and Argerich represent the forces of nature more directly. When Argerich lands on the low c# three dozen measures into the piece, she inspires all the certainty anyone could imagine in a world of shadow, as do both in their interchanges . . . I've never heard the "Kreutzer" Sonata played quite like this, and it's raised the bar for future performances . . . Repin doesn't seem to have worried about size, assuming full partnership -- yet the recorded sound accommodates both violinist and pianist. These readings deserve a most urgent recommendation for the high voltage Sonata and an extremely strong one for the multifaceted Concerto, by turns lithe and majestic. If I were to buy only one new recording this year, this would probably be it.

Fernab aller oberflächlichen Brillanz, mit singendem Ton, sorgsam begleitet vom gestrengen Riccardo Muti und den Wiener Philharmonikern, hat er nun aus dem Dreisätzer behutsam-entschlossen eine Erzählung im Dialog gemacht. Erfinderisch, erinnernd, erlösend einfach läst das mit dumpfen Pauken-Pulsschlägen beginnende Massiv schon nach den ersten Takte alle instrumentale Schwere hinter sich, und kurz vor dem Ende darf dann in der Kadenz von Fritz Kreisler ein Funken Virtuosen-Übermut alles klarmachen: Hier geht es um ein Wir, um uns -- Musiker, Hörer, Menschen überhaupt. Schlüssiger ist der schwierige Klassiker lange nicht interpretiert worden.

Partly translated:
This difficult Classical work has seldom been interpreted more coherently.

Vadim Repins Spiel ist von Nerv und Spannung, substanzvoll in der Tiefe, in der Höhe feingliedrig . . . Sonor die Mittellage und ganz präzise die Ökonomie der Bogenführung. Und er verblüfft mit seinen instrumentalen Fähigkeiten mit Klarheit, lupenreiner Intonation und makellosen Abläufen . . . Genussvoll spielt der Geiger die weiten Bögen des Soloparts aus, lässt bestrickende Pianissimo-Kultur erkennen und gönnt sich wohldosiert rubato-gedehnte Episoden und lang gezogene Crescendi (1. Satz), die aber den zusammenhängenden sinfonischen Charakter nie in Frage stellen. Es gibt auch kein etüdenhaft-mechanisches Abspulen, keine Leerläufe der Figurationen . . . Vadim Repin [verfügt] über die genau kalkulierte leuchtende Macht, kurzum über den Biss, der nun einfach nötig ist, um mühelos über den Orchesterapparat zu dominieren. Welch fabelhafte Orchesterkulisse bereiten die Wiener Philharmoniker dank sorgsamer Führung durch Riccardo Muti aus. Diese akkurat aufbereitete Gesangsszene mit Orchester bereitet im Dialog mit den Wiener Philharmonikern (Holzbläser) großes Vergnügen . . . Repin gelingt . . . eine klangschöne, spannungsgeladene Interpretation . . . Das geschmackssichere Gespür der Partner steht außer Frage.

Das Warten hat sich gelohnt . . . Von Menuhin beeinflusst, holt der Ausnahmegeiger das Konzert zu den Menschen zurück, füllt es mit Wärme und Leben. Selten klang dieses Stück so zurückhaltend und gleichzeitig intensiv, woran auch Riccardo Muti, die Wiener Philharmoniker und das klare Klangbild ihren Anteil haben. In der ungewöhnlich intimen, fast kammermusikalischen Aufnahme wird endlich mal deutlich, was Beethoven beim Komponieren offenbar im Hinterkopf hatte: eine Solostimme, die als Primus inter Pares in den sinfonischen Satz eingebettet ist. Dass mit dieser Einstellung auch ein Kammermusik-Highlight wie die "Kreutzer"-Sonate mit der glühend-intensiven Klavierpartnerin Martha Argerich zum Erlebnis wird, liegt auf der Hand.

Vadim Repin ist vor allem ein brillanter Violinist, der eine makellose Technik mit poetischer Sensibilität verbindet. Seine Aufnahme des Beethoven-Konzerts ist präzise, gleichzeitig singend und erzählerisch . . . Dass Repin weiterhin auch leidenschaftlich virtuos aufspielen kann, zeigt seine Aufnahme der Kreutzersonate auf der CD. Ein hingerissener italienischer Kritiker schwärmte einmal über ein Konzert Repins, er verbinde den lieblichen Ton eines Romantikers mit der musikalischen Kraft eines Athleten.

Auch Vertrautes wird mit solcher Frische gespielt, dass man glaubt, die Partitur sei eben erst geschaffen worden. Letzteres gilt für die Studioaufnahme mit der Kreutzersonate von Beethoven, die sie mit dem Geiger Vadim Repin für die Deutsche Grammophon eingespielt hat. Die beiden spornen sich gegenseitig an, steigern sich in einen wahren Spielrausch.

Die Sonate, im Duo mit Martha Argerich eingespielt, ist von unbekümmerter Frische . . . Das Konzert . . . ist schön gelungen . . . man [kommt] klanglich auf seine Rechnung. Über der selbstsicheren Schönheit der Wiener legt Repin einen Beethoven hin, der diesem Super-Klassiker mit jeder Note Rechnung zu tragen scheint. . . . Repins Interpretation folgt mit Geschmack einer individuellen Richtung, ist aber nicht übermässig subjektiv. Der zweite Satz ist wunderschön rein und hat doch klanglich Substanz. Leicht der dritte Satz und fein nuanciert in der Artikulation . . . Eine schöne, . . . feine Aufnahme. Etwas zum genau Hinhören.

Er spielt und spielt und spielt, stets auf höchstem Niveau . . . Denken wir nur an seinen Beethoven. Etwa die Kreutzer-Sonate, die er mit Martha Argerich, der Göttin des Klaviers, im Konzert gespielt und aufgenommen hat. Da sprühen die Funken, da wackelt die Welt, da strömt die Lava wollüstig aus dem Vulkan, und plötzlich steht alles still. Schnitt. Pause. Aus. Und Arkadien erscheint vor unserem inneren Auge. So in die Extreme getrieben, ist Repins Beethoven; man konnte das schon in der Interpretation des Violinkonzerts mit den Wiener Philharmonikern und Riccardo Muti hören. Ein Parforceritt durch die Seelenlandschaft des Komponisten ist diese Deutung. Repin geht dabei an die Ränder der Musik, an die Ränder des Existenziellen. Das Geschmeidige ist ihm fremd. Obschon: Repins Spiel klingt geschmeidig. Selbst noch im ruppigsten Moment. Ein Poet brüllt nicht . . . bei Repin klingt dieses Brahms-Konzert wie eine Mischung aus den späten Intermezzi für Klavier und der Zweiten Symphonie in D-Dur. Als ein Werk der sinnenden Tiefe und erkennenden Reife, darin die Leidenschaften aber hinter jedem Taktstrich aufscheinen. Und es klingt so wie das, was der legendäre Geiger Bronislav Huberman einst über das Konzert sagte: Es sei dies ein Stück, in dem die Violine gegen das Orchester antrete -- und am Ende gewinne . . .

Son archet racé, sa sonorité caressante et lustrée, ponctuée d'éclats fulgurants, l'a déjà consacré parmi les légendes de son temps.

Vadim Repin nous donne à entendre un violon parfaitement maîtrisé . . . Tout cela est très beau . . . le dialogue s'établit sans peine . . . et les deux artistes nous offrent un très bel exemple de communion musicale. On sent chez Repin et Argerich la même volonté de rendre à cette partition toute sa virulence, sa majesté, mais également son extravagance préromantique. On trouve donc ici une des plus achevées versions de cette sonate.

Timbres pastel, émotion retenue, phrasés délicats, vibrato soigneusement varié, diction toujours précise: tout révèle son goût pour la pudeur et l'innocence. Si Riccardo Muti et les Viennois optent souvent pour des tutti plus majestueux (mais jamais écrasants), la connivence entre chef et soliste est méticuleusement organisée . . . Repin résiste avec un superbe aplomb, imposant à force de persuasion sa vision plus concentrée et moins conflictuelle du dialogue. L'Andante réserve des moments d'une intense beauté, le violiste faisant état de tout son art en matière de coups d'archets et de couleurs pour trouver dans chaque variation le ton juste. Le finale est ardent et viril, admirablement dosé entre véhémence et rigueur. Une rencontre au sommet.

Vadim Repin et Riccardo Muti à la tête des remarquables Wiener Philharmoniker offrent, glissant entre rêve et réalité, un dialogue qui semble improvisé. Faite de clarté et de gravité, la virtuosité du soliste se révèle à la fois somptueuse et naturelle. Son style apparaît idéal dans une conception puissante . . . Flamboyante, l'interprétation de la Sonate "à Kreutzer" avec Martha Argerich évolue dans un climat assez différent, car là, le conflit se doit de devenir dynamique et créatif . . . Vadim Repin se montre autrement parfait instrumentalement --, la pianiste use d'un jeu varié et inventif pour attirer son partenaire vers une vision passionnée et dévorante.

    Waiting For The Right Moment

    Vadim Repin records the Beethoven Concerto

    Launching himself as a Deutsche Grammophon soloist with Beethoven's Violin Concerto, Vadim Repin is also notching up a personal “first": in spite of the fact that he has loved this work since he was very young, he had not previously recorded it. “I have been reserving it for a special time", he says. “If I had recorded it earlier in my career, I would now need to do it again. A recording is a document that stays with you, but it only represents your view on that day - it's only true to that moment."

    He had wanted to perform the Beethoven in public when he was 13, but was not allowed to by his teacher. “I didn't start to work on it seriously until long after my studies were finished. And before touring with it, I played it first, privately, for Yehudi Menuhin, who gave me some invaluable advice: not just about the work, but also about life in general for an artist - about what you can give people, and about being receptive, about the public's response as an essential part of the creative chain."

    “I always think of Menuhin in terms of this work", he says. “He played it when he was eight, and recorded it for the last time when he was 65. He felt that his interpretation was shaped by his teacher Enescu. The concerto has a childlike simplicity and at the same time the most mature spirituality. I see it as a love story about life itself. The second movement is like a confession in church, with the strings at the opening sounding like a soft choir: it ushers in a time for self-knowledge, a time to understand what's real in life, as opposed to what is just brilliantly sparkling surface. Playing this work, one is totally exposed and vulnerable. The performer can hide nothing. His true nature is revealed."

    In the run-up to this recording with Riccardo Muti and the Wiener Philharmoniker, Repin says he has been either practising it or thinking about the concerto every 15 minutes. “And all the time it has been opening new doors to interpretation. Singing it - or fantasizing about it - has been a very intense experience, full of different tastes and colours. The quest is endless: every bar is an experience in itself. There are thousands of little notes that you don't at first notice, but once you start attending to them, living them, each becomes full of significance. This applies only to this concerto - there is no other work like it."

    This becomes apparent to the listener. Repin's solo entry in the first movement is so sweetly concentrated, and its tone so perfectly rounded, that despite its dynamic reticence it effortlessly dominates the orchestra. His pace in the second movement is unusually measured, exuding a ruminative tenderness: his sound descants over the orchestra's hushed support like the finest, purest thread. He considered playing Beethoven's cadenza for the third movement, but decided to opt for Kreisler's instead: “One moment near the end knits it all beautifully together, and expresses the whole point of the concerto."

    “I've played this concerto with many conductors", he continues, “but never with such intensive dialogue as with Muti and the Wiener Philharmoniker." Indeed this partnership, though recent, seems a marriage made in heaven. They worked together last year when Muti needed a major violinist for the Italian youth orchestra he had created. “I wanted the young players to understand what it means to make music with a great soloist", comments Muti. They performed the Beethoven concerto, and Repin also gave a masterclass with the young musicians. After he, Muti and the New York Philharmonic had a big success with Tchaikovsky's concerto, Repin invited the conductor to collaborate with him on this recording of the Beethoven.

    “Accompanying an instrumental soloist is in principle like conducting for a singer", says Muti, adding that it's essential for the conductor to have an exact grasp of the soloist's intentions. Repin says he racked his brains for a long time over which work he could couple with the concerto on this album - his first solo recording for five years. “You could not put any other concerto with Beethoven's", he comments. “Finally I realized that the 'Kreutzer' Sonata would be the ideal counterweight."

    Repin had gravitated to the violin almost by accident as a child growing up in Novosibirsk in the 1970s. When he was five, his mother sent him to a specialist music school, but it wasn't her plan that he should study the violin. “It just happened that the school's one free place was for a violin student", he explains. “I was curious about the violin - it just seemed like another toy for me to experiment with. But after three or four days, I no longer thought about any other instrument. I was hooked." Six months later he made his first stage appearance, in a local competition.

    At six-and-a-half he was accepted as a pupil by Zakhar Bron, with whom he was to spend the next twelve years, and who put him firmly on the road to stardom. By the time Repin was eight he was practising four hours a day; he began to listen to the records of Jascha Heifetz, Mischa Elman and David Oistrakh, to whom, with his immaculate purity of tone, Repin is now routinely compared today. Bron encouraged him to give concerts for local audiences. When he was eleven, Repin won the Wieniawski Competition in Poland and began to play regularly throughout the Soviet bloc as well as in West Berlin, West Germany, Japan and New York's Carnegie Hall. In 1987 he won his first “adult" competition - the Concours Tibor Varga in Sion, Switzerland. Two years later he won the first prize and gold medal of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, and was thus set on his international career.

    Michael Church