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Music by Max Bruch -
reviewed by

'... unruffled, reasonably considered, technically secure ...'

Bruch: Violin Concerto No 1; Konzertstueck; Romance. Maxim Fedotov, violin; Russian Philharmonic Orchestra / Dmitry Yablonsky. © 2006 Naxos Rights International Ltd

Violinist Fedotov and his Russian colleagues bring us an unruffled, reasonably considered, technically secure account of Bruch's best-known work -- the Concerto in G minor. Yablonsky shapes the music with assurance and the Russian Philharmonic is more than equal to the task [listen -- track 1, 0:01-1:39]. Indeed this is a pretty fair performance. However they're not alone in this respect.

Almost every violinist with a representative discography has recorded Bruch's perennial audience pleaser and some outshine this reading, and many similar lesser lights.

Leader of the pack is 20th century violin Olympian, Jascha Heifetz. Don't get me wrong; I am not among those who slavishly uphold everything Heifetz committed to disc. I still give a wide berth to a few of his recorded interpretations.

However the best of his extensive recorded legacy remains, to this day, very rarely equaled. In this music he's heard with the New Symphony Orchestra of London and Sir Malcolm Sargent (RCA -- 1961-62); the compilation Hybrid SACD disc also has Bruch's Scottish Fantasy and Vieuxtemps' 5th Concerto. Despite its age this RCA Bruch is such a treasure; indeed at that time Heifetz made the Scottish Fantasy very much his own.

As good an alternative as any is the superb version of Cho-Liang ('Jimmy') Lin. For CBS he spearheads a compilation -- Bruch (with the Chicago Symphony and Leonard Slatkin), Mendelssohn (with the Philharmonia and Tilson Thomas) plus encores (with pianist Sandra Rivers) by Sarasate and Kreisler.

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Copyright © 12 February 2007 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


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