PERFORMER: Kronos Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 7559-79542-2
A member of the same violin-playing generation as Maxim Vengerov, Repin is less familiar on the English-speaking circuit. This disc will work like a calling-card. Its rather disparate nature is due to its live origins in a week-long Paris concert series called ‘Vadim Repin et ses amis’, which set him in various partnerships like one of London’s Wigmore Hall mini-festivals.
One consequence is that it tails off with a single stiffly stylised movement from Ravel’s sonata and two minutes of feverish pace as he charges through rather than blends with Roby Lakatos’s Hungarian group. The main works are another matter. Pick of them is the Debussy, which soon gets into its stride after a slightly offhand opening. Boris Berezovsky keeps the pulse buoyant as Repin combines intensity of tone with rhythmic lightness, and the finale sounds particularly spontaneous. Schubert, with Ralf Gothoni, also inspires a positive, singing performance that prefers not to linger in Viennese nostalgia.
The two violins of Repin and Anton Barachovsky are well matched as they stalk each other through Prokofiev’s cat-and-mouse counterpoint and keep chordal passages finely in tune. Two different recording teams, Erato’s and Radio France’s, both capture a supportive but intimate acoustic from the Louvre’s auditorium. Robert Maycock