Arthur Grumiaux / Heinz Wallberg

Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1; Scottish Fantasy

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There are those who might assert a priori that Bruch's G minor Violin Concerto and Scottish Fantasy are too richly romantic and overtly emotional for the supremely elegant and tightly controlled Arthur Grumiaux to do them justice. Hearing the Belgian violinist's 1975 couplings of the two works reissued in 2008 effectively may refute that argument. As always, Grumiaux's intonation is above reproach and his command of every aspect of technique is complete. And as always, Grumiaux's interpretations are characteristically objective with accurately articulated dynamic markings and precisely graded crescendos and decrescendos. Virtuosity and fidelity, however, are merely means to an end for Grumiaux, the end being a faithful representation of the expressive content music. In these performances, Bruch's soulful masterpieces sound richly romantic and overtly emotional, but the romance and the emotions come from the composer via the score and not the performer via his interpretation. Heinz Wallberg leads the New Philharmonia Orchestra in a more than competent if less than inspired accompaniment for Grumiaux, and Philips' grants them cool, clear sound.

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