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.
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.
Discover Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, watch and listen to different recordings and download your favourite
Find out more about Bruch's Adagio appassionato. Watch and listen to different recordings and download your favourite.
Find out more about Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor. Watch and listen to different recordings and download your favourite.
Find out more about Bruch's Scottish Fantasy. Watch and listen to different recordings and download your favourite.
Drive Featured Album, starting 25 January 2016 after 6pm
The violinist dazzles in these interpretations of two Romantic showpiece concertos. Drive Featured Album, 4 March
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Max Bruch's First Violin Concerto is arguably the most popular concerto for the violin. Classic FM finds out the story behind it.
Top Bruch Pieces
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