This lovely disc from Hyperion completes brilliant young British violinist Jack Liebeck’s survey of the three Bruch concertos with the excellent BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins.
At its heart is the Second Violin Concerto which, despite being championed by Perlman and Heifitz, still remains shamefully neglected in the concert hall. Proudly romantic with big singing melodies and death-defying solo passages, it has all the hallmarks of the great 19th century barnstormers and shows that the ever-popular First Concerto was no fluke. Liebeck and his smooth-toned Guadagnini take it on with magnificent aplomb. Originally composed for the Spanish virtuoso Sarasate, the 36-year-old Londoner shows he has golden tone, character to spare and a dazzling technique.
The disc’s other three works are equally enjoyable. Bruch considered the Adagio Appassionato one of his best works. Konzertstück started out as the ‘Fourth Concerto’ but Bruch refused to add a third movement. He probably felt that not much needed to be said after its glorious Adagio. Bruch described In Memoriam, a single movement which starts with an ominous tattoo from the timpani, as “a lamentation, a kind of instrumental elegy”. Liebeck, seen in Australia last year with Trio Dali for Musica Viva, gets wonderful support from Brabbins and his excellent band. This is Vol 21 of Hyperion’s Great Romantic Violin Concertos survey. Keep them coming!