Apparently a staple in Russia, the music of Taneyev exists on the fringes of the repertoire in the West, something that should be rectified–and will be if this superb CD made by a starry cast of performers gets the attention it deserves. He’s a Romantic composer, but hardly of the heart-on-sleeve variety, since he was a master of counterpoint and firmly encased his Romantic impulses in a well-fitted classical jacket. Sometimes he makes you think of a more modern, pungent Brahms with a Russian accent.
The Medtner sonata is the principal work here. Of the three that he wrote the Third (Epica) is perhaps the most intricately worked and, at over 40 minutes, certainly the most substantial. At times it seems almost too long for its own good and for that reason it needs a very persuasive and masterly performance in order to project its strengths. Fortunately Vaditn Repin's and Boris Berezovsky's performance here is about as persuasive as you can get — Repin is lyrical and passionate and has plenty of fiery temperament for this music, and he is ideally complemented by Berezovsky's equally splendid playing. Much is made of the sonata's lyrical and melodic abundance (the Scherzo is delivered with great panache) and Repin's choice of tempo for all movements is expertly judged — compared to Alexander Shirinsky and Dmitri Galynin, Repin comes in faster in just about all movements; even so I still find the finale a little overworked and extended for the material.
Lang Lang revisits giants of Russia's Romantic musical soul, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, to reveal another side of his prodigious talent–his finesse as a collegial interpreter of chamber music. This release, Lang Lang`s first ever chamber music recording, also features two giants of their instruments: Vadim Repin on violin and Mischa Maisky on cello. Lang Lang could not be in better company to reveal the inexhaustible inventiveness of Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio in A minor, op. 50 or the tender consolations of Rachmaninov's Trio élégiaque no. 1 in G-minor, a short early masterpiece composed before Rachmaninov was twenty.