Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, op. 77, and Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra in A Minor, op. 102
Vadim Repin, violinist, with -Riccardo Chailly and the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and Truls Mørk, cellist
Acclaimed Russian violinist Vadim Repin worked on the Brahms violin concerto extensively with the famed Yehudi Menuhin and has always felt a deep affinity for the soaring, expansive work. Written by Brahms (1833–1897) in 1878 when he was 46 years old, the work premiered at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in 1879. Together with the Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Tchaikovsky concerti, the Brahms concerto is considered one of the greatest nineteenth-century works in this form for violin and is one which Repin says “contains no artificial displays intended to be superficially effective. The violin opens up entirely naturally and reveals its full potential.”
Repin’s Guarneri del Gesú violin has an earthy tone and is well-suited to the characteristically warm sound for which the Gewandhaus Orchestra in noted. The soaring lines of Brahms’ first movement evoke the landscape of the countryside where he was staying when he wrote it, and Repin brings genuine feeling, strong enough to carry its long lines and tender enough to capture the soft touch of a breeze. The second movement is thoughtfully played, though a slightly faster tempo might eliminate the apparent need to bring out details in the orchestral score that somewhat overwhelm the violin’s musing lines. The third movement bursts into an athletic dance, and Repin has the skill and energy to keep it moving joyously to the end.
Cellist Truls Mørk joins Repin and Chailly in the Double Concerto, bringing an ability to blend sounds and souls that led Repin to say, “In Truls Mørk I’ve found a soul mate.” The Double Concerto was Brahms’ final orchestral work, and the soloists more than do it justice; they reach far beyond the realm of musical notation to the spirit of the music and convey it, whole, to listeners.