BRUCH: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26. Violin Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 44.  Violin Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 75. Serenade for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 75. Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46.
Salvatore Accardo, violinist/Leipzig Gewandhaus Orch/Kurt Masur, cond.

Philips Duo 462 167 (2 CDs) (B) (ADD) TT: 78:46 & 78:26
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BRUCH: Symphony No. 1 in E Flat, op. 28. Symphony No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 36. Symphony No. 3 in E, Op. 51. Romanze in A Minor, Op. 42. Adagio appassionato, Op. 57. In Memoriam, Op. 65. Konzertstück in F Sharp Minor, Op. 84.
Salvatore Accardo, violinist/Leipzig Gewandhaus Orch/Kurt Masur, cond.
Philips Duo 462 164 (2 Cds) (B) (ADD) TT: 74:35 & 76:40
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I have long treasured the Philips LPs of Salvatore Accardo's l977/8 recordings of all three violin concertos of Max Bruch and his other seldom-heard works for violin and orchestra. Accardo's tone is always luminous, his technique unquestioned, always at the service of the music. Now we have all three of the concertos, plus the Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46, and the Serenade, Op. 75, all in one convenient 2-CD set at a most reasonable price. The reproduction is broad, spacious and defined, with the solo violin in perfect perspective.

 But Bruch wrote other compelling works for violin and orchestra: Adagio appassionato, Op. 57, Romanze in A Minor, Op. 42, Konzertstück in F Sharp Minor, Op. 84, and one of the composer's finest concerted works, In Memoriam, Op. 65. All of these are to be had in a second Philips Duo set which features as well all three of Bruch's symphonies. The first, written in 1868, is dedicated to Brahms, the second, dating from two years later, is dedicated to the great violinist Joachim, and the third was composed in 1882, commissioned for the Symphony Society of New York and premiered by them that year. No heaven-storming symphonic tragedies here; this is pleasant, unassuming music reminiscent of Schumann and Mendelssohn, often drawing upon folk tunes for its ideas. Kurt Masur leads the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in all of this music, a sensitive accompanist for Accardo, a strong advocate for the symphonies. The current Schwann/Opus doesn't list either of these Philips sets, but both are in the catalog, and highly recommended.

R.E.B. (Nov. 1999)