A double CD with over 150 minutes of music. The three symphonies span the period 1868-1882.
The first is a pleasing, relatively light work more characteristic of the early Romantic period and has a "Schumannesque" quality. However, the second and third are more weighty works, that might have done justice to his close friend Brahms; they combine melody and intensity. The second, unusually in three movements, has no scherzo - which did not sit well with a Leipzig audience brought up on such fashions. It opens in serious and rather classical manner reminiscent of Brahms first symphony. The adagio, second movement, has beautiful melodies with solo opportunities for a number of other orchestral instruments - notably clarinet, horn and cello. The final movement is perhaps the most impressive . Symphony No.3 is a rather "mixed-bag", perhaps reflecting its long gestation from earlier sketches, but after two pleasant, but rather unspectacular, movements, the work seems to find itself with a very lively scherzo (of which Bruch himself was particularly fond) and a powerful but tuneful finale. This symphony, which dates from Bruch's three years in Liverpool, benefits from several hearings when some of its delicate subtleties emerge,
In addition to the symphonies there are four excellent, but rarely heard, works for violin and orchestra; the two best being the Romanz in A minor, characteristic of a single movement violin concerrto and In Memoriam which is more intense and rich in emotion.
Outstanding value and a joy to listen to even if the recording does sound a "little confined"