Following on the heels of his highly successful recording of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, Russian violinist Vadim Repin continues his survey of the core repertoire with this album featuring the Brahms Violin Concerto and Double Concerto. Accompanied by the Gewandhaus Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly, Repin' performance of Brahms is every bit as sensitive, vivacious, and well-thought-out as his Beethoven. Brahms despised hearing his music performed metronomically rigid, always preferring for tempo to be more of a fluid concept. Repin and Chailly are quite attuned to this preference, and the two produce music that is like a dynamic, flowing dialogue. This never comes across as excessive use of rubato or over-Romanticizing; Repin is very controlled in his use of pacing from the sensuous middle movement to the capricious finale. His tone is clear, powerful across the entire range of his instrument, and warm while still penetrating easily above the orchestra. Unlike the vast majority of recordings of this work that use the first-movement cadenza by Joseph Joachim, Repin chooses Heifetz's cadenza; while some may find this an overly showy, ostentatious interjection, it is still interesting to hear something other than what is expected.
Repin is joined by cellist Truls Mørk for the Double Concerto, Brahms' final orchestra composition. The two soloists do a splendid job of blending tone, articulation, balance, and intonation throughout the dialogue-filled concerto. Deutsche Grammophon's digital sound is clean while still voluminous and present. The liner notes spend a bit too much time lauding the recording itself instead of describing the music at hand.