Admirers of Sir Yehudi Menuhin will be pleased to have this compilation of his early stereo recordings of the major violin concertos. I have always enjoyed his version of the Bach Double Concerto with Christian Ferras; it rightly dominated the catalogue throughout the 1960s, and the spirited baroque vitality of the performance, plus a beautifully judged central Largo, give great satisfaction. Moreover, it demonstrates what a good sound balance Peter Andry and Neville Boyling could achieve in London's Kingsway Hall in 1959.
If you've only listened to Heifetz's crude interpretation of Sibelius's tempestuous and capricious concerto in the past, you might be incredulous after listening to this CD. "What? This is the Sibelius Concerto? It's a far cry from the one in my memory." After listening to it twice, however, tears should prick your eyes–the result of two gusts of contrasting emotions in one stroke: anguish over all the beauty, passion and subtlety you've missed in the past from this fabulous concerto, and jubilation at your new discovery of this supreme recording and the privilege to relish every bar of the music.
After beginning a three-album Bruch series with the little-known Violin Concerto No. 3, Op. 58, Liebeck here takes up one of the composer's most famous works, the Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26. The rest of the program, though, advances the aim of Hyperion's Romantic Violin Concerto series, which is to recover forgotten works of the period. The little Romance in A minor, Op. 42 and the Serenade in A minor, Op. 75 both got started as concertos, but never came to full fruition.
A highly versatile musician, Ulf Wallin has recorded a succession of discs for BIS, including music by Schoenberg, Schnittke, Janacek and Hindemith. Lately he has focussed on Romantic composers, resulting in an acclaimed recording of Schumann's complete works for violin and orchestra (Daily Telegraph: 'It's hard to imagine more sympathetic and insightful performances of these wonderful pieces'). Supported by the eminent Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin conducted by Okko Kamu, Wallin now offers a programme spanning some 30 years of the long career of Max Bruch.
Medieval Baebes and other far greater shocks to the bourgeoisie have come along. Wild adventures placed under the rubric of performances of Vivaldi's Four Seasons are commonplace. Yet Nigel Kennedy continues to roost atop the classical sales charts in Europe, and even to command a decent following in the U.S. despite a low American tolerance for British eccentricity. How does he do it? He has kept reinventing himself successfully. Perhaps he's the classical world's version of Madonna: he's possessed of both unerring commercial instincts and with enough of a sense of style to be able to dress them up as forms of rebellion. Inner Thoughts is a collection of slow movements – inner movements of famous concertos from Bach and Vivaldi to Brahms, Bruch, and Elgar. Actually, the only composer falling into the middle of that large chronological gap is Mendelssohn; Kennedy apparently needs a sort of otherworldly serenity for this project, which Baroque and post-Romantic slow movements may have, but Mozart does not. At any rate, this is no radical idea; it's a softball straight up the middle.
From an early age Max Bruch had enjoyed the ideal conditions for becoming a composer: his family had considerable cultural awareness and gave him all the support he needed. He had already composed not only a (lost) symphony but a significant proportion of his chamber music while still a student. The two youthful String Quartets Op.9 in C minor and Op.10 in E major show a Romantic exuberance poured into classic and classical moulds. The members of the ISOS Quartet — Isabelle van Keulen, Katharine Gowers, Vladimir Mendelssohn and Imke Frank — know each other from several important summer festivals as Lockenhaus and Kuhmo. As their CD debut, they recorded both string quartets by Max Bruch exclusively for Koch International Schwann.
As part of Chandos Tribute to Lydia Mordkovitch, this re-issue features Bruch’s Violin Concertos Nos 2 and 3 performed by Lydia Mordkovitch with Richard Hickox and the London Symphony Orchestra. Both were recorded in 1998 in Blackheath Halls in London.