Max Bruch

Started by tjguitar, May 17, 2007, 03:56:09 PM

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SonicMan46

Chamber Works for the afternoon - selective listening - currently own the 5 CDs below w/ some duplication - after listening to the Octet, a favorite, the much newer Nash Ensemble recording trumps the CPO version to my ears (and the rest is present on other discs), so likely will cull out; the attached reviewer's comments also are in agreement - a LOT of wonderful music on those performances.  Dave :)


kyjo

#41
Recently, I had the pleasure of re-acquainting myself with Bruch's 3 symphonies in these marvelous performances:



It had been many years since I'd heard the 1st, a couple years since I'd heard the 3rd, and I don't believe I'd ever listened to the entire 2nd. The 1st Symphony (1870) is a work full of youthful vigor which exceeded my expectations. It's cast in 5 movements à la Schumann's Rhenish, shares the same key, and its solemn 4th movement in the dark key of E-flat minor resembles the respective movement of that work. Another standout movement is the delightful scherzo which has a glorious string-led tune in the trio section.

I was less taken by the 2nd Symphony in F minor (1870). It often seems to me like Bruch is trying to express tragedy and sadness but never quite succeeding (he was more successful at conveying positive emotions). It's actually quite a unique work for its time in its almost relentlessly pensive demeanor. The whole work is strangely understated and lacking in timbral contrast - everything is very legato and rarely rises above mezzo-forte, and the melodic writing is definitely not amongst Bruch's most memorable. That said, the slow movement has an almost proto-Elgarian(!) nobility which is quite interesting, and I feel this work may yield more upon repeated listening. But, this time around, I couldn't really connect very well with it.

The 3rd Symphony (1887), in the wonderfully bright and sunny key of E major, returns to the mood of the 1st. There's a beautiful sunrise-like opening (similar to that of his marvelous 2nd String Quartet in the same key), followed by an Allegro section filled with freshness and vivacity. The slow movement is lush and warm if somewhat conventional. Then, the real fun begins with the folksy scherzo with its catchy main theme and humorous (rare for Bruch!) ending. And the finale is admirably concise and full of tremendous energy - no hint of an overblown "finale problem" here!

The 2-disc set is filled out with orchestral excerpts from Bruch's operas Die Loreley and Hermione and his oratorio Odysseus. This is well-crafted, enjoyable fare in the same vein as the symphonies - nothing overtly dramatic or Wagnerian here. Special mention must go to the performances by the Bamberger Symphoniker under Robert Trevino - surely one of the most promising younger conductors active today. These symphonies could easily sound too "safe" or predictable in the wrong hands, but Trevino and his orchestra imbue these scores with plenty of forward drive and character. Much to my chagrin, Trevino encourages the string players of the Bamberg orchestra to employ delicious portamenti when necessary. If you've had mixed feelings about these symphonies like I did previously, give these performances a try! (Well, I still have mixed feelings about the 2nd. ;))
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

SonicMan46

#42
Bruch,Max(1838-1920) - Violin Concertos et al on the 3-CD box below - finishing up the last few days listening to the dozen or so discs now in my collection - see spreadsheet attached - this has been added to and culled looking at my previous posts in the thread; also attached are the non-vocal works now owned (in bold) w/ some duplication (not much left to add) (Source); although no choral works? - Dave :)

 

kyjo

Quote from: SonicMan46 on June 22, 2024, 09:56:56 AMBruch,Max(1838-1920) - Violin Concertos et al on the 3-CD box below - finishing up the last few days listening to the dozen or so discs now in my collection - see spreadsheet attached - this has been added to and culled looking at my previous posts in the thread; also attached are the non-vocal works now owned (in bold) w/ some duplication (not much left to add) (Source); although no choral works? - Dave :)

 

What were your impressions of the music? Any particular favorite works?
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

SonicMan46

Quote from: kyjo on June 22, 2024, 10:26:57 AMWhat were your impressions of the music? Any particular favorite works?

Hi Kyjo - well, still finishing up the third disc; there are 9 works in toto, including the 3 violin concertos with over 3 1/2 hrs of music.  I've always favored Violin Concerto No. 1 and the Scottish Fantasy, but the other works are equally enjoyable to my ears. Antje Weithaas plays a recently made violin which sounds great and Hermann Baumer and his orchestra provide well integrated performances with excellent sound by CPO (recordings from 2013-15); packaged as usual by CPO in separate jewel boxes w/ the original liner notes.  Attached are several compilation reviews (sorry but may be similar - put together a number of years ago) - uniformly very good to excellent reviews.  I used to have the Accardo-Masur recordings but in comparison sound was dated and I did not feel Masur did as well as Baumer, so culled out and replaced with the CPO recordings.  Dave :)

Roasted Swan

Quote from: kyjo on June 22, 2024, 10:26:57 AMWhat were your impressions of the music? Any particular favorite works?

that's a very fine set - I preferred it to the famous Masur/Accardo set.  Accardo is a wonderful player but for me - as with his version of the symphonies - Masur is just lack-lustre and dutiful rather than inspired.  But then I rarely find Masur inspired.  Hard not to think that his career was majorly aided by the state support he received from the DDR - Suitner, Kegel, Rogner, Sanderling for starters strike me as more interesting conductors in just about anything.........