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Review - Bruch's Violin Concerto - A Classical Cousin


In the spring of 1866, Max Bruch's first violin concerto was debuted by celebrity violinist Joseph Joachim.  Its auspicious beginnings paved the way for its permanent success; the concerto is still popular (here it's played by my favorite violinist, Gil Shaham).  Bridging a gap wider than 150 years, Bruch's passionate melodies still have the ability to move us, bringing to heart a time period that can feel distant in pictures or even on paper.

For comparison's sake, I found a Goodreads book list called "Popular 1860s Books."  It's really astounding to see so many famous books there, at a glance.  High on the list is, of course, Little Women, whose recent Masterpiece Classic adaptation I've enjoyed watching on PBS (tomorrow is the conclusion!).

Clearly great classics of art and literature did not appear within a vacuum.  I'd love to think a writer somewhere in Bruch's audience was inspired by the story he tells with this piece.

Comments

  1. Thanks for posting the video. I like Classical music but was only remotely familiar with Bruch. The recording of the piece that you posted is extraordinary. I plan to listen to more of his work.

    I always wonder about the relationship between literature and other arts. The 1860s produced so many great novels.

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    1. Yes, I was so surprised how many great books were from that decade!

      Another excellent Bruch violin piece is his "Scottish Fantasy"... IIRC, the James Ehnes recording is particularly good.

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  2. it's amazing how violinists do those double stops; this seemed a wonderful recording, although due to insufficient band width, the recording kept breaking up... but the bit i could listen to, the duet with the oboe, was quite lovely... tx for introducing me to this: i'll have to get a copy of it to hear the whole thing...

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    1. Sorry to hear that - I hope you'll be able to hear the whole piece at some point (library CD maybe? That's where I used to find them!). Shaham's version is my favorite, but what I love about the Bruch is that it's really hard to ruin it, and almost anyone can play it well. ;)

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