Friedrich Kleinhapl

Max Bruch: Pieces for Violoncello and Orchestra

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Max Bruch had the unfortunate circumstance of writing his most popular, enduring composition -- the Violin Concerto in G minor -- very early in his career. No other piece, either during his lifetime or since, has appeared on-stage or recording with the same frequency. Still, Bruch produced several quality works that still merit consideration. This Ars Produktion disc features cellist Friedrich Kleinhapl and the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra performing the few (four) works for cello and orchestra along with a transcription of the Op. 85 Romance for Viola and Orchestra. Bruch was one of a handful of composers who refused to bend to the musical trends of his times; as such, his music is deeply romantic and highly lyrical. These works for cello and orchestra are no exception, and Bruch accentuates the vocal capabilities of the instrument throughout these works. Kleinhapl's playing is ideally suited for such writing. His tone is exceptionally pure and legato, allowing him to easily sing through his instrument. His rendition of Kol Nidrei -- by far the most well-known of the works on the program -- is full of yearning, repentance, and fulfillment. The beauty and care with which he plays make listeners pay attention and appreciate these often underestimated pieces. The disc concludes with solid, though at times dreary, performance of the Op. 79b Suite for Orchestra. Ars' sound is clear, warm, and vibrant.

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