50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
GOOD QUALITY EASY LISTENING,
This review is from: Bruch : Works For Clarinet & Viola - Apex (Audio CD)
There is probably not enough music like this -- music that is a consistent pleasure to listen to, music that is not cheap or second-rate but that makes few or no demands on the listener. Up to now my total collection of Bruch has been one LP consisting of the second Violin Concerto and the Scottish Fantasia played by Perlman. Most experienced music-lovers probably know the first
Violin Concerto and Kol Nidrei well enough not to need their own copy -- a variety of performances crops up regularly in the nature of Radio 3. As for the rest of his output, I would have carried happily on waiting for any of it that came my way until I saw that he had done a concerto for viola and clarinet. Why no other composer that I can think of has leapt with enthusiasm at the obviously attractive combination (I would have thought) of clarinet with violin or viola is a bit of a mystery to me. To my total unsurprise, it turns out to be thoroughly attractive and I guess this is going to be a record I play a lot. Bruch was a genuine master, not just in the sense of being an out-and-out professional (you could say that much of Reger) but as also having a distinguished and distinctive melodic gift. This whole disc, not just the concerto, is a pleasure from beginning to end.
I did not know a single piece on it when I first played it but it is not going to be long before I know them all the way I know Brahms. The performances are all sympathetic and accomplished. I shall now be more on the lookout than I was for renderings by other artists, but this is a little treasure for my collection and I cannot imagine it being easily supplanted. To go off at a tangent, I recently came by another gem of easy listening from an earlier era namely Gluck's ballet Don Juan conducted by Gardiner. Budget price, lasting value.