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Donald Macleod explores Max Bruch’s violin works. Today, Serenade, Op 75, a major four-movement work, and Konzertstuck.

Donald Macleod explores Max Bruch’s violin works. Today, Serenade, Op 75, commissioned by his long-time collaborator, the violinist Pablo de Sarasate and Konzertstuck, a work is sometimes viewed as Bruch's fourth violin concerto.

Melody, said Bruch, represents the “soul of music” and nowhere is that better represented than in his first violin concerto. It’s a work which brought him fame and fortune, but it’s also a work he came to hate, since he felt its popularity suppressed performances of his other compositions. It’s a sentiment that has some justification, since he wrote some two hundred odd works, the majority of which rarely see light of day.

Aside from a natural outspokenness and a tendency to take umbrage, which lead to some very prickly professional relationships, Bruch also had to contend with some unlucky timing. Born in Cologne in 1838, he was five years younger than Brahms. Even though he outlived him by some twenty years Bruch remained over-shadowed by one of the great luminaries of German music.

This week though the spotlight falls firmly on Bruch, as Donald Macleod explores his concerted works for the violin, an instrument with which he had a very close relationship. Starting with that most famous example Bruch came to resent so much, you can also hear the second violin concerto, which was championed in more recent times by Itzhak Perlman, the third violin concerto, the folk-inspired Scottish Melody and one of his final utterances for the instrument, the Konzertstück, Opus 84.

In this final chapter, Donald Macleod contrasts a surprising portrait of Bruch the family man, with the composer's mercurial dealings with his long standing collaborators Joachim and Pablo de Sarasate.

Eight pieces for clarinet, viola and piano Op 83 - No 7 in B major: Allegro vivace, ma non troppo
Trio Zemlinsky
Thomas Friedli, clarinet
Annick Gautier, cello
Patricia Thomas, piano

Serenade Op 75 Allegro energico e vivace
Antje Weithaas, violin
NDR Radio Philharmonic
Hermann Bäumer, conductor

Odysseus - The Banquet with the Phaiakes
Camilla Nylund, soprano, Nausicaa
Michael Burt, bass baritone, Alcinos
Jeffrey Kneebone, baritone, Odysseus
Xenia-Maria Mann, mezzo soprano, Arete
NDR Radio Choir
Budapest Radio Choir
NDR Radio Philharmonic of Hanover
Leon Botstein, conductor

String Octet in B flat major 3rd Movt Allegro molto
The Nash Ensemble

Konzertstück in F sharp minor Op 84
Allegro appassionato
Adagio, ma non troppo lento
Jack Liebeck, violin
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Martyn Brabbins, conductor

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Max Bruch

    Allegro vivace, ma non troppo, Op 83 No 7

    Performer: Thomas Friedli. Performer: Annick Gautier. Performer: Patricia Thomas. Ensemble: Zemlinsky Trio.
    • Claves CD509217.
    • Claves.
    • 10.
  • Max Bruch

    Serenade in A minor, Op 75

    Performer: Antje Weihaas. Orchestra: NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Hermann Bäumer.
    • CPO 7778462.
    • CPO.
    • 6.
  • Max Bruch

    Odysseus, Op 41: The Banquet with the Phaiakes

    Performer: NDR Radio Choir. Performer: Budapest Radio Choir. Performer: NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. Singer: Camilla Nylund. Singer: Michael Burt. Singer: Jeffrey Kneebone. Singer: Xenia Maria Mann. Conductor: Leon Botstein.
    • Koch Schwann 365572.
    • Koch Schwann.
    • 3.
  • Max Bruch

    String Octet in B flat major (3rd movement)

    Ensemble: Nash Ensemble.
    • HYPERION : CDA-66168.
    • HYPERION.
    • 11.
  • Max Bruch

    Konzertstück in F sharp minor, Op 84

    Performer: Jack Liebeck. Orchestra: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Martyn Brabbins.
    • HYPERION : CDA-68055.
    • HYPERION.
    • 4.

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