Review By Classic FM,June 2012
Strap yourself in for a thrilling orchestral ride.
Maxim Fedotov produces a gloriously full and weighty sound, ideal for Bruch’s Romantic blockbuster. Not since Isaac Stern’s mid-1960s classic have those famous skin-tingling melodies hit the emotional bull’s-eye with such overwhelming intensity. If only the recording had possessed greater body and clarity, it would have been an outright winner. The two-movement Konzertstück was originally intended as a fourth concerto and is again played with scorching commitment by Fedotov, who clearly believes in every note…Fedotov’s surging spontaneity carries the day. © 2012 Classic FM
Review By David_Denton,The Strad,August 2006
Though Maxim Fedotov�s highly expressive account of Bruch�s First Violin Concerto would stand comparison with any in a catalogue bulging with high-profile performances, it is the disc�s unusual couplings that will prove the draw. The earlier of the two works is the Romance dating from 1874, which is contemporary in time and style with the first concerto. Its title is rather curious for a score of such vivacity � a score that is stylistically linked with his subsequent Scottish Fantasy.
Review By Michael Cookson,MusicWeb International,June 2006
Arguably the most popular of all the violin concertos, Bruch�s G minor was for several years voted as the audience top choice on the Classic FM �Hall of Fame�. Today I noted on the �musica.co.uk� website that it continues to head the list of the �Top 100 Classical Works� based on data from UK performance and CD sales. This Naxos release incorporates two of Bruch�s less familiar scores for violin and orchestra; the Konzertst�ck and the Romance. The same forces recorded for Naxos the Scottish Fantasy Op. 46 and the Serenade Op. 75 in Moscow, in 2003, on 8.557395 (see review).
Today Bruch is universally known as the composer of the G minor concerto. It is generally forgotten that Bruch actually wrote three violin concertos and was, in his day, also famous for his more....
Review By Victor Carr Jr.,ClassicsToday.com,August 2006
It's nice to hear Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 in the company of his lesser-known Konzertst�ck (and not, as it often is, paired with the Mendelssohn concerto). The Konzertst�ck is sort of a mini-concerto in two movements that features finely-spun and ingratiating tunes allied with masterful violin writing. The better-known Romance is an interlude whose serene beauty Maxim Fedotov faithfully recreates with his narrowly focused, silvery tone. In the Concerto this tone gains a tensile strength as Fedotov skillfully navigates the first movement's expressive permutations and later the finale's rustic dancing rhythms. However, Fedotov's interpretation is pretty much straightforward, keeping the music's emotional drama in balance. This works well enough, though admittedly the passion more....
Review By Göran Forsling,MusicWeb International,July 2006
How do you like your Bruch? Sweet and sentimental or more down-to-earth? When I grew up Swedish Radio�s only channel had a programme late every Christmas Eve, �Santa Claus in the Gramophone Archive�. A recurring piece of music was the Adagio movement from Bruch�s first violin concerto. As far as I remember it was always very sweet, very sentimental. I have no recollection of who was the player, if it was the same recording every year. Anyway, when I got old enough to buy my own record player one of the first LPs was Wolfgang Schneiderhan playing the traditional coupling of Mendelssohn and Bruch. This has ever since been my benchmark version of both works. Unfortunately the record is now so scratched that it is unplayable so I couldn�t compare the present disc with the old
While the first violin concerto � he wrote three � is a work from his relative youth, the two-movement Konzertst�ck was written late in life when he was past 70. It is a beautiful, well crafted piece and even if it lacks the youthful freshness of the concerto it still has many of the same characteristics, Bruch not being one to change his musical language during his long career. This is music that needs a whole-hearted advocate and Fedotov lavishes all his energy and intensity as he does in the Romance. This was originally intended as the first movement of his second concerto but in the last resort he decided to publish it as a separate work. Initially somewhat darker than the concerto it soon turns out to be a grateful vehicle for technical wizardry, but as with so much of Bruch�s music it is the cantabile character that stays in the memory.
Neither of these two works are barn-storming �finds� but they are agreeable and attractive. I derived a lot of pleasure from the whole disc. Playing time is not over-generous but the price is attractive, Keith Anderson contributes one of his splendid essays and the recorded sound is all one could wish.
Review By Christopher Fifield,MusicWeb International,June 2006
Credit should go to the Fedotov/Yablonsky team for this follow up CD to their previous Naxos disc (8.557395 -see review) which couples the Scottish Fantasy with the far less familiar Serenade Op.75. Last year EBS Records coupled the G minor concerto with its later sibling, the third in D minor, so hopefully such imaginative policies on the part of the independent record companies will wean the public off its commonly held belief that Bruch was a one-work composer, of that concerto and little else. As far as works for the violin and orchestra are concerned there are nine of them, which back in the 1980s Philips produced as a boxed set of vinyl played by Accardo under Masur. Only five of these were transferred to CD (Philips 462 167-2), with neither the Romanze nor the
In 1870 Bruch opted for a freelance career as a composer after five years at Coblenz and Sondershausen respectively. This pattern of alternating the security of a paid conducting post with the freelance option as a composer would persist until 1890 when he became professor of composition in Berlin. Bruch never again achieved the success of his first violin concerto. Curiously it was through his secular oratorios such as Odysseus in 1870 that his fame spread, even to England, where its success eventually led to his appointment to Liverpool in 1880. As far as violin concertos were concerned, he attempted a second early in 1874, but his love life was going through a troubled patch, and after completing the first movement he lost his muse, the rest of the work becoming no more than a glimmer of ideas. He was, however pleased with what he had written and encouraged by positive responses from his friends and colleagues, so he decided to publish it as a single movement Romanze. Based on two typically lyrical melodies, according to one critic it was based on the Nordic Saga of Gudrun's Lament by the Sea, but knowing the composer's aversion to programmatic music and what was happening to him at the time, it is far more likely to be subtitled "Max's Lament by the Rhine for Amalie Heydweiller", whose love he had just lost. As the first movement to his projected second violin concerto it is unusual in that it is slow. Interestingly Bruch persists with this idea when he did indeed come to write the work some three years later.
By the time Bruch came to write the Konzertstuck he was over seventy years old. It was written for the American violinist Maud Powell, and again it became a truncated concerto, although this time in two linked movements rather than one. It was dedicated to Willy Hess, who Bruch had helped to return from his post as leader of the Boston Symphony Orchestra to teach at the Berlin Music Academy - he had also led the Hall Orchestra and frequently performed Bruch's concertos. Powell gave its first performance at the Norfolk Festival in Connecticut on 8 June 1911, and part of the work was subsequently recorded, the first music by Bruch to be so. She has played the Adagio alone, half of it cut, into a machine (!!!). I told her a few truths, he wrote later that month. This Adagio uses the Irish folksong "The Little Red Lark" underlining the composer's love for folk music. It is a beautiful movement, reminiscent of the Adagio from Op.26, written soon after the death of his great friend and violin-adviser Joachim, and is the last music Bruch wrote for solo violin and orchestra. Four decades later, the circle had been completed.
Fedotov's playing takes no hostages; it is full-blooded in sound and passionately committed, at the same time clinically judged in clean intonation and phrasing, nevertheless the famous Adagio in the G minor concerto should bring a tear to the eye. Tempi are studied, his passage work and double-stopping technique impressively faultless, especially if you like that Eastern European roughness which, for some ears, can be brittle. He clearly loves Bruch's music, this is no mere "gig". Despite some crude sounds from the heavy brass, the orchestra and conductor serve him well and the acoustics are spaciously resonant, even if possibly added in post-production. If only because works other than Op.26 are featured, especially the beautiful Konzertstuck, Bruch would have approved.