MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
BIS Downloads available from

Max BRUCH (1838-1920)
Violin Concerto No. 1 (1868) [24:17]
Romance in F (1911) [8:30]
String Quintet in A minor (1918) [24:05]
Vadim Gluzman (violin)
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra/Andrew Litton (Concerto; Romance)
Vadim Gluzman, Sandis Šteinbergs (violins), Maxim Rysanov, Ilse Klava (violas), Renis Birznieks (cello) (Quintet)
Rec. Grieg Hall, Bergen, Norway, October 2009 (Concerto; Romance); Schloss Nordkirchen, Orangerie, Westphalia, Germany, September 2009 (Quintet). Hybrid SACD
BIS-SACD-1852 [58:04]

Experience Classicsonline

Most collectors will already possess a recording of Bruch’s First Violin Concerto so for many the items of interest here will be the Quintet and the Romance. The Quintet, first of all, is a work of 1918, written towards the end of the Great War and of the composer’s life; it’s a real gem. Its deceptively gentle opening lulls the listener into a false sense of ease before plunging headlong into a full-on passage of Sturm und Drang. The rest of the movement contains a mix of beauty and stress but it shows that the composer had complete mastery of the Quintet form for this, his only excursion into the genre. The extra viola makes all the difference, adding a rich mellowness to the middle of the sound and creating something for the listener to bask in. In contrast to the opening movement, there is an underlying warmth and good humour to the Scherzo which is merry while remaining understated. The slow movement is gorgeously rich, thanks to the prominent role given to the middle strings. It’s an unapologetically lush four minutes and its brevity makes it feel like a beautifully transient moment, snatched before it disappears. The finale is then more restrained than one might expect, almost like an energised Minuet. For most of the movement it retains its elegance and mask of formality before breaking into a hell-for-leather coda, but not before a central section that reminds us of earlier stresses. This is a work well worth exploring, and the performance given here is superb. Gluzman has assembled a cast of players with whom he clearly has a close working relationship and it shows. There is a sense of collective joy in the music-making that works wonderfully. There’s that palpable feeling of introducing a new musical discovery into the world. For this, if nothing more, the disc deserves to do well.

The Romance is another delight. Originally scored for a solo viola with orchestra Gluzman arranges it for violin after the composer’s own version for violin and piano. As its title suggests, it is wonderfully luscious with a main theme to wallow in and sumptuous orchestration to boot. It feels much more like Massenet’s Méditation than Beethoven’s Violin Romances and it oozes Romantic decadence from every pore. A guilty pleasure!

As for the concerto itself, Gluzman and Litton provide a performance which, to my ears, can stand comparison with any of recent years. The first movement contains playing of proper vigour, making the music sound energetic and exciting. For once this – almost - prevents it from being a “mere” prelude to the slow movement which here unfolds in one endless, breathless line of legato beauty. The finale then bustles with energy without feeling rushed. Gluzman’s unashamedly Romantic playing makes this a version to cherish, and BIS’s recorded sound is first rate, close and immediate without losing its bloom. This disc is a great Bruch package, combining the most familiar with something new.

This recording can also be downloaded from

Simon Thompson

see also review by Christopher Fifield (June 2011 Recording of the Month)






Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.