Magazine article New Criterion

NDR Symphony Orchestra

Magazine article New Criterion

NDR Symphony Orchestra

Article excerpt

NDR Symphony Orchestra Christoph von Dohnanyi, conductor Vadim Repin, violin Carnegie Hall, New York. Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Following the Russian violinist Vadim Repin's performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto No. 2 in E minor, Op. 64, my friend remarked to me that her benchmark for violinists has always been (as it is for many) Jascha Heifetz, but that Repin's performance had come close to achieving the Heifetz standard.

This is a bold statement, but a fair one. The thirty-six-year-old Russian is a very different player from Heifetz, of course. Notably, Repin plays with fire rather than with ice, as the stoic Heifetz did. Yet he shares with the late master an effortless, uncommon virtuosity as well as the capacity to vacillate between romanticism and reserve. This ability was on display as Repin launched into the cadenza of the Concerto's opening Allegro, bowing his double stops with abandon then reaching into his upper register, recalling that fusion of transparency and longing present in a Bach Partita.

Repin's smooth, gliding tone in the Allegro stood in sharp contrast to his coarse attack in the Andante, where he leaned dramatically into phrases. The final movement, Allegretto, was casual, with the violinist pushing the NDR (North German Radio) Symphony Orchestra to the edge of the beat, sliding through runs (not offensively but affably), and enjoying himself. The bravos subsided only after Repin's fourth curtain call, which he easily earned. …

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