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CD Review

Max Bruch


  • Symphony #1, Op. 28
  • Symphony #2, Op. 36
  • Symphony #3 Op. 51
  • Franz Schreker: Prélude to a Grand Opera
Cologne Gürzenich Philharmonic Orchestra/James Conlon
EMI 575157 125m DDD
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I was always extremely fond of Max Bruch's symphonies, all three of which are bubbly and romantically-infectious works confirming this pedagogue's status in the whole canon. Having been weaned on Masur's forceful and direct set on Philips recorded in the late 80's, a Germanic approach is always welcome in this sort of repertoire. All three finales sing with almost other worldly romanticism and Conlon has just the right penchant for the music.

The Cologne orchestra are virtually ethereal in their old world bowing and playing that recalls the traditional Germanic sound through and through. Bruch's delightful use of woodwind is also pre-eminent and again, Conlon's watchful musicality brings this to the fore.

The interesting Prélude by Schreker is nothing if not daunting and bruisingly challenging but Conlon is evidently empathic with this sort of stuff.

The recording is clear and clean and those looking for Bruch on a budget could invest in this set. The only competitor at this price level is the Masur who is slightly too brusque, but effective nonetheless.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech