By far his most celebrated and enduring composition, Max Bruch's First Violin Concerto in G minor earned high praise from violinist Joseph Joachim and generations of violinists since. The dramatic dialogue between the soloist and orchestra throughout the concerto quickly engages audiences, and its abundance of pleasing, memorable themes has assured its place in the canon. Equally memorable though performed with slightly less frequency is the Op. 46 Scottish Fantasy for violin, orchestra, and harp, a work that demonstrates Bruch's ease at working with folk idioms. This Royal Philharmonic Masterworks album unites the RPO under the baton of legendary Russian conductor Yuri Simonov and violinist Yuzuko Horigome. While their performances may not fall under the category of "rarely heard abandon" touted on the cover of all RPM albums, Horigome and the RPO do produce solid, reliable readings of both works. For her part, Horigome's playing is technically polished and musically dramatic; her sound is at once powerful and warm, penetrating and intimate. The RPO provides a robust backdrop while maintaining a careful balance that does not obscure the soloist. Simonov appears to slightly accelerate orchestral tuttis, but otherwise keeps close pace with the soloist's appropriately applied rubato.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26|
|Scottish Fantasy for Violin with Orchestra and Harp, Op. 46|