MAX BRUCH: Scottish Fantasy; Violin Concerto No. 1; Romance for Violin and Orchestra – Guy Braunstein: violin, Bamberger Sym./ Ion Marin – Tudor multichannel SACD 7188, 64:53 [Distr. by Naxos] [4/30/13] ***:
Max Bruch lived from 1838 until 1920. A German Romantic composer he wrote more than 200 works, and among them three violin concertos that are oft performed.
This disc contains the popular Scottish Fantasy, The Violin Concerto No. 1, and his Romance for Viola, heard on this disc as an arrangement for violin and orchestra. Violinist Guy Braunstein had been the concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, but stepped down this year to pursue a solo career.
In all the works, Braunstein is excellent, with precision yet emotive playing. The Bamberger Symphony under Ion Marin is also up to the task, yet overall the recording is not inspiring. The SACD and CD layer sound virtually the same, and the dynamics of the high definition recording don’t seem very bold. The rear channels are very subdued, even the sound of the concert hall is very low. As with the disc overall, the sound of the violin, which is usually greatly improved in an SACD recording, sounds no different than the CD layer.
As a performance, the Bruch is well played. As an audiophile experience, the disc is lacking and not as involving as it might be with better sonics.