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Quintets - Released April 5, 2011 | BIS

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The immense popularity of his Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, both during his lifetime and into modern times, turned out to be almost something of a curse for composer Max Bruch. The violin concerto, his first foray into the concerto genre, was helped along by none other than Joseph Joachim. So widespread was the success of the concerto that Bruch found it difficult if not impossible to compose subsequent instrumental works that could stand against it. In the almost six decades between the completion of the violin concerto and Bruch's death, few works were even to come close. In addition to the concerto, this BIS album attempts to shed new light on some of his more neglected compositions, including the Op. 85 Romance in F major and the String Quintet in A minor, one of the composer's final works. Violinist Vadim Gluzman joins the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Andrew Litton for an exciting, dynamic performance of the concerto. Gluzman's playing is vibrant and energetic; his tone is both sumptuously warm and assertively powerful. Litton's orchestral leadership is equally enthralling. He does not simply race through the considerable orchestral tuttis, but adds shape, color, and interest throughout. Gluzman joins four other colleagues for a rare reading of the string quintet. Though written well into the 20th century, the quintet could just as well have been written in the mid-1800s; Bruch's commitment to Romantic ideals remained resolute right up to the end. The performance here is just as vivacious and edgy as the concerto, casting the little-heard work in its best possible light. © TiVo
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Violin Concertos - Released June 22, 2018 | Sony Classical

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While Max Bruch's First Concerto was recorded, re-recorded and over-recorded to the nth degree, we can't say the same of Bruch's very elegant Scottish Fantasy Enter Joshua Bell, the new artistic director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, both playing the violin and heading up an ensemble to offer us both the Concerto – which he had recorded about thirty years ago with Marriner – and the Fantasy, a discographic first for him. This Fantasy, written in 1880 after the Second Concerto, was Sarasate but first performed by Joachim. The composer weaves it together from an infinitely elegant tissue of themes, and melodic impressions of Scotland, real or imagined. Joshua Bell, of Scottish descent himself, swims like a wild salmon through the clear waters of lochs and highland torrents, while the orchestra, clearly rapt, offers him a beautiful foil. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released April 18, 2006 | Naxos

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For those listeners who don't already know the works on this disc, there are two huge surprises here. First, Felix Mendelssohn composed his Octet when he was a mere 16 years old. Second, Max Bruch composed his Octet when he was a mere 82 years old. This isn't to say that Mendelssohn's Octet with its singing melodies, its soaring themes, its strong rhythms and its ingenious textures doesn't sound like the high-spirited work of a teenage genius; it most certainly does. And this isn't to say that Bruch's Octet with its genial melodies, its sentimental harmonies, its luxurious forms and its masterful textures doesn't sound like the long-considered work of an aging epigone, it most surely does. This is to say, however, that anyone who didn't know that Mendelssohn's work was written in 1825 and Bruch's in 1920 might guess that both works were came from about the same time then from nearly a century apart. But surprised or not, anyone who listeners to this disc will no doubt be blown away by the quality of the performances. The Kodály Quartet and the Auer Quartet joined by bassist Zsolt Fejérvári in the Bruch form one seamless all-Hungarian super-group with a warm tone, a balanced ensemble and a sprightly sense of rhythm. Better yet, the conjoined groups seems to have as much affection for Bruch's intensely nostalgic work as they do for Mendelssohn's intensely energetic work, and both their performances are equally convincing. While it might be too much to say that anyone who loves Mendelssohn's Octet will love Bruch's Octet -- there is, after all, a world of difference between a genius and an epigone -- anyone who loves great chamber music playing may quickly develop a distinct fondness for these performances. Naxos' sound is clear but not quite crisp and deep but not quite full. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 23, 2011 | RCA Red Seal

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Chamber Music - Released January 24, 2020 | Groupe Analekta, Inc

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Classical - Released May 6, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released September 25, 2015 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released February 23, 2009 | Warner Classics

In the early digital era, fans of central European late Romantic orchestral music were given for the first time in recorded history an actual choice of recordings of the three symphonies of Max Bruch: those by Kurt Masur and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra on Philips and these by James Conlon and the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln on EMI. At the time, most listeners assumed that Masur and the Leipzig orchestra had a lock on the works; they were, after all, the pre-eminent representatives of East German music-making and if they couldn't make Bruch's scores come alive, who could? But as time proved, Masur and his Leipzig orchestra were only able to turn in warm-hearted, well-played but essentially generic accounts of the works that did nothing to elevate their status in the repertoire. But Conlon and his Cologne orchestra turn in not only warm-hearted, well-played accounts but strongly profiled readings that made the works seem much more successful and important than Masur and his crew. Here, Bruch sounds like a highly talented composer who knew how to come up with a good theme and what to do with it; in other words, the same composer who wrote the Scottish Fantasy and the G minor Violin Concerto. In these performances, each symphony holds up well separately and all three together make a better case for Bruch as a first-rate second-rank composer than his violin concertos. The coupling of the same composer's highly unusual but wholly effective Concerto for two pianos, plus two sets of his solo piano pieces, adds to our knowledge of the Bruch's works and to the total playing time of these two discs. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 27, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released July 3, 2020 | CPO

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Classical - Released September 27, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released March 22, 2009 | Cypres

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Opera - Released January 4, 2019 | CPO

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Max Bruch was always an outspoken opponent of modernity in all its forms: his role models were Mendelssohn and Schumann, and his demons were named Wagner, Richard Strauss and Max Reger. When he died in 1920 (he was born in 1838), his soul had been shaken by Schönberg, Debussy, Stravinsky and the First World War, which he lived through as a grumpy old man. He was also vexed by the success of his First Violin Concerto, which overshadowed all the rest of his music, including this 1863 opera Die Loreley which the librettist had initially given to Mendelssohn before rather unenthusiastically taking the decision to take it on himself. However, the composer took care to stay within the romantic style of his time, turning out melodies that were related to the Lied and phrases borrowed from German folk music in an overall atmosphere which was 100% Germanic. The work was impeccably designed: a kind of dramatic crescendo that finishes by exploding into the final drama. This is a piece that certainly deserves applause on the international stage. © SM/Qobuz
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Concertos - Released August 2, 2011 | BIS

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Classical - Released January 1, 1997 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 1998 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Symphonic Music - Released April 27, 2010 | Naxos

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There's little competition for the best recordings of Bruch's symphonies, but what competition there is is stiff, very, very stiff. On one side, there are Kurt Masur's opulent accounts with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchester from the late '80s, on the other, there are James Conlon's urgent readings with the Gurzenich-Orchester Kölner Philharmoniker from the mid-'90s. And yet Michael Halász and the Staatskapelle Weimar have found a way to top them both by delivering performances of surpassing warmth and beauty that still have unstoppable drive and momentum in this 2008 recording of Bruch's First and Second symphonies. One is reminded here and there of the composer of the famous violin concertos, but for the most part, Halász turns in performances of such conviction and authority that it makes one think Bruch's reputation as a symphonist has been seriously underestimated for the past century and a half. Captured in clear, colorful digital sound, this disc deserves to be heard by all fans of 19th century German symphonic music. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 1, 2002 | Naxos

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