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BRUCH RARITIES

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'... the orchestral accompaniment transcends the accepted harmonic idiom, interspersed with Elizabeth Whitehouse's serene arias ...'

Should we allow biased opinions to sway musical judgement? -
with BILL NEWMAN

 

Quite frequently I ask myself why a composer's reputation lies with a select number of works performed with a degree of frequency following their demise. Max Bruch, born Cologne, 1838, died Friedenau, 1920, is a case in point and I was intrigued that German musicologist Hugo Riemann 'always maintained that Bruch would be remembered after his death because of his choral works.' Public opinion has reversed that verdict, for the name of Bruch today immediately conjures up thoughts of the G minor Violin Concerto, Kol Nidrei and the Scottish Fantasy.

Bruch's choral music is occasionally performed in Germany, but the source of my argument here necessitates going back to the year 1907 when Arthur M Abell, American friend of Bruch, talked with him about other composers' psychic experiences which inspired them to write fine music. Readers will probably know that I am referring to Abell's Talks with Great Composers, namely Richard Strauss, Brahms, Puccini, Humperdinck, Grieg, as well as Bruch, an invaluable book, published by G E Schroeder in 1964, 3rd Edition, which tells us more about their inner musical personalities than many a full-length biography where you have to scan indexes and many pages of text for the real truth.

I read Abell's staggering statement (remember this is still 1907!) to Bruch. 'What do you think will be your status as a composer fifty years from now as compared with Brahms? Today you have a much greater vogue than he has', and Bruch's prophetic reply: 'I predict ... that as time goes on, he will be more and more appreciated while most of my works will be more and more neglected.'

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Copyright © 15 October 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - ORFEO C 438 982 H

PURCHASE BRUCH'S MOSES FROM AMAZON

PURCHASE BRUCH'S MOSES FROM CROTCHET

CD INFORMATION - CHANDOS CHAN 9738

PURCHASE THE SYMPHONY/CONCERTO DISC FROM AMAZON

PURCHASE THE SYMPHONY/CONCERTO DISC FROM CROTCHET

 

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