Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

MAX BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto No. 3 38.28 Symphony No. 2 in F minor 37.36 * Andreas Krecher (violin) Wuppertal SO/Gernot Schmalfuss MUSIK PRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 335 0868-2 Distributed in UK by Chandos [76.23]


Save around 22% with


Bruch is making a modest come-back these days. His first violin concerto and Scottish Fantasy kept him to the fore and still keeps his name there in the consciousness of the vast majority of concert-goers. This in turn pulled into the catalogue various works over the years. Most distinguished among these remain the complete three symphonies from Leipzig under Kurt Masur and the three violin concertos played by Accardo - both 1970s Philips productions that continue in the catalogue. More recently the splendid Koch International have recorded his Odysseus cantata - a recording and work greeted with pleasure.

The third violin concerto has some of the sweetness of the first concerto although the tunes are a couple of degrees below those in the first concerto. The other concerto recalled by this work and the silvery playing of Andreas Krecher is the Beethoven. The sense of time standing still and the whirring machinery held back by beauty is very much to the fore in the Adagio which is done with high poetry and a nice sense of dynamics. The finale breaks with the Beethoven in tilting and disciplined bravura - always musical and never tipping over into mere Barnum and Bailey. I thought I detected a Hungarian element and the Brahms concerto's finale came to mind more than once. The concerto is a wide-spanning work playing for longer than the second symphony.

The Symphony is shorter than the concerto by about a minute. The allegro passionato is cloudy and overhung in the manner of the Eroica - lightning flicker and thunder rends the eternal silence. Bruch is good at adagios and the central one here is no exception. Schmalfuss and the Wuppertalers demonstrate they can play with quiet yet empowered concentration as well as cleave the heavens. The Brahmsian atmosphere has something in common with the central movements of Brahms 2. The finale on the other hand is essentially peaceful without the great storms of the first movement as if through the reflection of the adagio a restful strength has been found. This is rather Brahmsian - rather like the first and third symphonies with a touch of the well-known Bizet symphony.

Excellent recording and performances in works which compete realistically with those versions currently in the catalogue. MD&G are doing a great service to us and to these orchestras in recording them in rare and even rarer repertoire. Now how about some Marx (Herbstsinfonie desperately need), Trapp, Bungert and Berger?


Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

Reviews from previous months

Reviews carry sales links
but you can also purchase

Return to Index