Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Fully Romantic Bruch without sentimentaliy

Max Bruch: Scottish Fantasy, Violin Concerto no. 1

Joshua Bell was only eleven years old when he learned his first major concerto, the Bruch Violin Concerto no. 1, and only 21 when his premiere recording with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields under Neville Marriner (Bruch no. 1 plus the Mendelssohn) was released in 1988 to great acclaim. Thirty years later Marriner is gone, but Bell, who took over as Music Director of ASMF in 2011, is back playing Bruch with his band. This time he's included the Scottish Fantasy, my favourite Bruch piece (and my Mom's). While the new recording of the Concerto follows Sir Neville's tempi in the outer movements, Bell is brisker with the middle Adagio, though there's no lack of sentiment in the new recording. More importantly, Bell eschews any sentimentality in both Concerto and Fantasy, keeping to the classical bones of these great works while tending to the Romantic flesh. This is a highly recommended release.

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