Poor old Max Bruch! First, he opted for a flat fee instead of a royalty percentage for his phenomenally successful First Violin Concerto and then persisted in trying to replicate that success – with little success. He lived beyond his creative period and was still influenced by Schumann, Mendelssohn etc. in an age when Wagner and Richard Strauss were the rage.
Having said that, I’m absolutely smitten with one of the works on this CD: the A Minor Serenade, Op. 75, composed in 1899. At 36 minutes it almost outstays its welcome (Accardo and the late deeply lamented Kurt Masur on Philips are even slower) but its dreamy first movement, followed by a jaunty march (which has a meltingly lovely Trio section) a ravishing Nocturne and the Finale, which ends as serenely as the work began, make for a delightful diversion. As does the Op. 42 Romance, also in A Minor.
Liebeck’s account of the G Minor Concerto is fine but unexceptional. What can there possibly be left to say about it other than his is more demure than some recent renditions? The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins sounds alert and makes this warhorse sound as freshly minted as the two discoveries. The sound is excellent.