Max Bruch


Max Bruch

Max Bruch (1838–1920) was a German romantic composer and conductor who wrote over 200 works. He wrote three violin concertos, the first of which, in G Minor has become a staple of the violin repertoire.

Life and Music

  • Bruch demonstrated an exceptional childhood precocity. He was composing by the age of ten and continued to produce remarkably assured pieces in a wide range of genres throughout his early teens.
  • The budding composer was subjected to a rigorous and somewhat stifling musical training under Ferdinand Hiller - which stood him in good stead but also left him with a cripplingly conservative outlook.
  • Breitkopf and Hartel published some of Bruch's early music, and with the resulting funds he was able to spend the 1860s mainly travelling, teaching, and establishing a solid reputation as a composer.
  • His first large-scale opera, Die Loreley, won glowing praise from the distinguished pianist-composer Clara Schumann (widow of the composer Robert).
  • 1868 saw the premiere of Bruch's masterpiece the First Violin Concerto. It's impassioned melodies and high-wire virtuosity thrilled the first night audience, creating something of a sensation.
  • Bruch gave master classes at the Berlin Hochschule which continued for almost a decade, and Respighi and Vaughan Williams were among his most distinguished pupils. At this time Oxford University awarded him an honorary doctorate.
  • Bruch died a sadly disillusioned man. A conservative figure even by mid-19th century standards, by the time of his death his musical style was way behind the times.

Did you know?

Unfortunately Bruch became the most unenvied of creative artists - the one-hit wonder. The success of the First Violin Concerto haunted him for the rest of his life and as if to rub salt into the wound, he unwisely accepted a one-off payment for the work and so missed out on a fortune in royalties.


Max Bruch Discover more from Max Bruch

Bruch’s First Violin Concerto is a former No.1 in our FM Hall of Fame, and it remains a firm favourite on Classic FM.


Joseph Joachim violinist Bruch - Adagio Appassionato

Find out more about Bruch's Adagio appassionato. Watch and listen to different recordings and download your favourite.

Rach 3 Max Bruch: Scottish Fantasy

Find out more about Bruch's Scottish Fantasy. Watch and listen to different recordings and download your favourite.

Album reviews

Top Bruch Pieces