Franck, Janácek,Grieg: Violin Sonatas

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Franck,Grieg,Janacek
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Franck: Violin Sonata in A; Janácek: Violin Sonata; Grieg: Violin Sonata No. 2 in G, Op. 13
PERFORMER: Vadim Repin (violin), Nikolai Lugansky (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: DG 477 8794

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While under exclusive contract to Warner, Vadim Repin produced several outstanding sonata discs with Boris Berezovsky. Now signed up to DG, he appears to have changed pianist, though the partnership with the equally formidable Nikolai Lugansky is actually quite long-standing, the duo having frequently appeared together in recitals.

The obvious empathy that exists between these two artists, coupled with the invaluable experience garnered from playing together over many years, brings enormous dividends to this warmly recorded programme.

It’s so easy to become complacent in such a well-worn work as the Franck. But Repin and Lugansky overcome any hint of routine, delivering a relatively straightforward account that is sparing in its use of rubato and avoids any excessive indulgence.

I particularly admire the purity with which they approach the first movement and the almost childlike simplicity found in the phrasing of the opening melody of the Allegretto poco mosso, here delivered at an almost ideal tempo.

These qualities prepare one far more effectively for the searing intensity that is to follow both in the passionate second movement and in the climaxes of the Finale.

In comparison to the relatively restrained view of the Franck, Repin and Lugansky deliver an almost expressionist account of the Janácek exploiting every nervous tick in the music to the nth degree but without ever sacrificing precision and unanimity of ensemble.

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After this emotionally draining experience, the Grieg provides welcome relief. Repin and Lugansky bring freshness to the outer movements whilst investing the central movement with great affection. Superb. Erik Levi