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Max Bruch (1838-1920)

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Bruch: Piano Quintet

Bruch: Piano Quintet


Bruch:

String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 9

Goldner String Quartet

Swedish Dances, Op. 63

Dene Olding (violin), Piers Lane (piano) &

Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. post

Piers Lane (piano)

Goldner String Quartet


New recordings from the Goldner String Quartet are always a treat. Here, once again, they are joined by Piers Lane for the intriguing Bruch Piano Quintet; also performed are his youthful String Quartet No 1 and a catchy set of Swedish Dances for violin and piano.

“[The Piano Quintet] given a spirited performance here by Piers Lane and the Goldners...And in a joyful burst of melody, first violinist Dene Olding joins Lane for the beguiling Swedish Dances.” The Guardian, 27th March 2016 ***

“[the Goldner] relish the music's C minor sturm und drang with infectious bravado…[and] the quartet's gifted leader Dene Olding joins forces with Piers Lane in a rousing performance of the violin-and-piano Swedish Dances” BBC Music Magazine, May 2016 ****

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Hyperion - CDA68120

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Bruch: String Quintets & Octet

Bruch: String Quintets & Octet


Bruch:

String Quintet in E Flat, Op. posth (1918)

Octet in B flat major, Op. post. (1920)

String Quintet in A minor, Op. posth (1918)


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Music which belies the date and circumstances of its composition. All three works were written in the immediate aftermath of World War I, yet inhabit a sound world of Brahmsian richness and warmth—very much the product of the composer of the famous Violin Concerto. The Nash Ensemble are ideal interpreters.

“The always rewarding Nash Ensemble add warmth and grace to the sprightly String Quintet in E flat major and bring verve and attack to its edgier A minor companion, but it is in the magnificent String Octet that the players finally allow the sun to truly shine. Recommended.” The Observer, 26th March 2017 ****

“they have a yearning lyricism that harks back to the G minor Violin Concerto...and the rich texture of five and eight parts gives the sound a depth and mellowness. Although all three are in the ‘concertante’ style, ensuring that first violinist Stephanie Gonley enjoys the majority of the limelight, there’s no shortage of interplay between the parts as well as some delightful melodic turns of phrase.” David Smith, Presto Classical, 31st March 2017

“The Nash ensemble have a natural feeling for the music's ebb and flow, and while they're not afraid of big gestures and the bite of horsehair and rosin, they play beautifully as an ensemble...Together, these performances go to the top of a not exactly crowded field; in fact his disc needs to be heard by everyone who loves German Romantic chamber music.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2017

“These three very likeable chamber offerings by Max Bruch…receive joyously assured treatment from the distinguished members of The Nash Ensemble on this truthfully engineered Hyperion release…Tully Potter supplies a personable and authoritative booklet-essay, and collectors with a sweet tooth will find the disc as a whole well worth seeking out.” Classical Ear, 14th April 2017 ****

“The Nash Ensemble members (including Stephanie Gonley, Laura Samuel, Lawrence Power and Adrian Brendel) play superbly and devotedly and are tangibly recorded. Highly recommended.” classicalsource.com, May 2017 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

31st March 2017

GGramophone Awards 2017

Finalist - Chamber

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

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Hyperion - CDA68168

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Bloch/Bruch: Schelomo, Kol Nidrei & other works

Bloch/Bruch: Schelomo, Kol Nidrei & other works


Bloch, E:

Schelomo

From Jewish Life

arr. for cello, strings and harp by Christopher Palmer

Voice in the Wilderness

Bruch:

Kol Nidrei, Op. 47


A dazzling orchestral disc of music from the Jewish tradition of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Bruch’s Kol Nidrei is one of the most well-loved works in the cello repertoire. The descending opening phrase of the cello line is instantly recognizable: a universal, extraordinarily expressive utterance.

The main part of the disc comprises the works for cello and orchestra by Ernest Bloch, all part of his ‘Jewish cycle’. The most famous is Schelomo, a work inspired by passages from Ecclesiastes, where the cello, playing a deeply lyric and speaking line of prodigious technical difficulty, can be seen as ‘the incarnation of King Solomon’, as Bloch himself wrote. The other large-scale work for cello and orchestra, Voice in the Wilderness, is of a darker hue. Both works reveal a composer whose works should be firmly in the canon of twentieth-century symphonic writing.

The cellist here is Natalie Clein, a celebrated figure in British musical life since winning BBC Young Musician of the Year in 1995 and now a formidable artist, possessed of great musical, technical and intellectual gifts.

“[Clein's] impassioned, sensitive playing finds willing collaborators in the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and their former principal conductor.” Sunday Times, 15th July 2012

“Clein is the cello protagonist in all four works, her range of tonal colour, her animation and her discreet soulfulness proving to be ideal qualities...Kol Nidrei is one of the most beautiful works in the entire cello canon, a factor that this performance conveys in a blend of tranquillity and heartfelt ardour.” The Telegraph, 27th July 2012 *****

“Clein's performance [of Schelomo] concentrates, most affectingly, on the atmosphere of deep introspection...thoughtful, subtle and satisfying, well supported by the passionate and spirited BBC Scottish SO...The Bruch, too, receives a lovely performance, with Clein bringing out the different colour of each of the cello's strings and the orchestra effecting most beautifully the transition from sombre to heavenly.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2012

“She and Volkov give a performance of Schelomo (1916) that is very moving, both in its profound sensuality and in the pervasive sense of transience that gnaws at its vision of worldly glory...Beautifully done, [Kol Nidrei] brings the disc to a reflective close. Highly recommended.” The Guardian, 9th August 2012 *****

“As one might expect, Clein delivers a powerfully committed performance, but also manages to avoid over-indulgence, negotiating the peaks and troughs of the music's volatile emotional language with a clear sense of direction...Volkov brings a welcome transparency to Bloch's languorous instrumentation in the reflective sections.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2012 ****

“one of the pleasures of the recital is the meeting of minds between orchestra and soloist, each perfectly partnering the other...It's a lovely piece of programming, tenderly performed.” bbc.co.uk, 22nd August 2012

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2012

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Hyperion - CDA67910

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The Clarinet Concert

The Clarinet Concert


Bruch:

Concerto in E minor for clarinet, viola and orchestra Op. 88

Crusell:

Introduction and Variations on a Swedish Air Op. 12

Heinze:

Konzertstück in F major

Mendelssohn:

Concert Piece No. 1 in F major for clarinet, basset horn, & piano/orchestra, Op. 113

Concert Piece No. 2 in D minor for clarinet, basset horn & piano/orchestra, Op. 114

Rietz:

Clarinet Concerto in G minor Op. 29

Solère:

Variations in B flat for clarinet and orchestra on a theme from Alruno

Spohr:

Sinfonie Concertante in F major for two clarinets


“A winner” Gramophone Magazine

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Hyperion Dyads - CDD22017

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The Romantic Violin Concerto 17 - Bruch

The Romantic Violin Concerto 17 - Bruch


Bruch:

Violin Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 58

Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46


Award-winning violinist Jack Liebeck brings his impassioned tones, fulsome emotional display and formidable technique to the first of three albums of music by Max Bruch.

This programme presents one of Bruch’s most popular pieces for violin and orchestra, the Scottish Fantasy, alongside one of his least known, the Violin Concerto No 3 in D minor, Op 58. Anyone hearing Jack Liebeck’s performance may well wonder why this concerto has languished in the lumber room for so long—it has never been heard at the BBC Proms, for example. It was written for Joseph Joachim who gave the premiere in Düsseldorf and subsequently played the concerto in Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Strasbourg, Breslau, Leipzig, Cologne and London (for the Philharmonic Society).

The Scottish Fantasy in E flat major, Op 46 (or more correctly ‘Fantasia for the violin with orchestra and harp, freely using Scottish folk melodies’), was written in Berlin during the winter of 1879–80 for Sarasate and reflected the Spaniard’s more colourful personality. Although Bruch never visited Scotland, he was typical of German Romantics in having a fascination with the picture of the country painted by such writers as Walter Scott. For the Scottish Fantasy he drew on James Johnson’s voluminous folk-song collection The Scots Musical Museum.

“Jack Liebeck and conductor Martyn Brabbins work hard to make the music come alive. Liebeck’s playing is consistently fresh and his phrasing always imaginative” The Guardian, 23rd October 2014 ***

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Hyperion - The Romantic Violin Concerto - CDA68050

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The Romantic Violin Concerto 19 - Bruch

The Romantic Violin Concerto 19 - Bruch


Bruch:

Serenade in A minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 75

Romance in A minor for violin & orchestra, Op. 42

Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26


Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1 is the daddy—the most popular ever written. Much recorded, Jack Liebeck turns in a dazzling performance of youthful vigour, prefacing the Concerto with the gorgeous Serenade and a Romance.

“what Liebeck seems to be saying is that Bruch needs no additional sweeteners. His playing is unpretentious and strikingly introspective, resulting in an Adagio of quiet dignity. And even if the first movement doesn't quite match the grandeur of Julia Fischer's or the sweaty passion of Vadim Gluzman's, it stands out for its poise and clarity.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2016

“Liebeck is a red-blooded, eloquent advocate throughout.” The Guardian, 21st January 2016 ***

“Liebeck certainly has the technioque and the temperament...Brabbins doesn't let the music sit down in the first movement [of the Concerto], which has energy and direction from all concerned...[Liebeck] doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve, letting the music speak for itself, but I can't helping feeling that the orchestra carries the main emotional burden.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2016 ***

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Hyperion - The Romantic Violin Concerto - CDA68060

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The Romantic Violin Concerto 21 - Bruch

The Romantic Violin Concerto 21 - Bruch


Bruch:

Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 44

Konzertstück, Op. 84

In Memoriam, Op. 65

Adagio appassionato Op. 57


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here

The ‘justly celebrated’ Jack Liebeck (as described by The Strad) follows in the footsteps of Heifetz and Perlman in championing Bruch’s now neglected Violin Concerto No 2, originally written for Sarasate. Three shorter concertante works for violin and orchestra complete the album (Bruch thought the Adagio appassionato one of his best works) which marks volume 21 in our highly regarded Romantic Violin Concerto series.

“as Jack Liebeck’s nicely restrained performance shows, [Bruch's Second Violin Concerto is] a piece that’s perfectly capable of standing on its own musical feet. His fine-grained playing gets exemplary support from Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, who never overdo the menace that underlies the first movement especially” The Guardian, 23rd December 2016 ****

“Liebeck is certainly equal to all the challenges, moving from impeccable double-stopping one moment to the sweetest, most ardent of tones in some of the more impassioned passages.” Presto Classical, 23rd December 2016

“There’s much to admire in Jack Liebeck’s patrician account of Bruch’s D Minor Violin Concerto. His playing is virtually flawless in its technical ease, scintillating articulateness and purity of tone.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2017

“Throughout the Second Concerto, with its unforgettable soaring opening, Liebeck combines a beguiling silvery sound with tantalising interpretative restraint, free of heart-on-the-sleeve rhetoric…rarely has Bruch’s melodic genius been sounded with such chaste sweetness as here, ideally complimented by Liebeck’s captivating narrow-fast vibrato” BBC Music Magazine, January 2017 ****

“Impressive performances of the Concerto and of the ‘lesser’ pieces.” MusicWeb International, 1st February 2017

Presto Disc of the Week

23rd December 2016

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Hyperion - The Romantic Violin Concerto - CDA68055

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