The Strad Issue: January 2017
Description: Weithaas reaches into the rarer corners of Max Bruch's output
Musicians: Antje Weithaas (violin), NDR Radio Philharmonic/Hermann Bäumer
Catalogue number: CPO 777 847-2
Although Max Bruch is known mainly for the G minor Violin Concerto no.1, it is fitting that modern interpreters are increasingly programming his other works, including his chamber music. The verdant landscapes elucidated by the passionate Third Violin Concerto are at least equal to those of the First, and are given great character and aplomb here by Antje Weithaas, concertmaster of the Camarata Bern and a soloist with numerous high-profile orchestral collaborators, known for the charisma of her readings.
The concerto here has all of the formal rigour and intensity one might desire in the first movement, a wonderfully evocative and spacious slow movement and plenty of élan in the finale. Technically, the playing is very good indeed, in the present-day ‘international’ mould, although the sound can become a little strident in the later reaches of the finale.
Completing this disc are two lesser-known works, including an agonisingly heartfelt Konzertstück that displays the warm, committed playing of the NDR Radio Philharmonic under Hermann Bäumer to great effect, and a musically more modest Romanze. Overall, this is a very enjoyable and well-recorded disc by suitable and capable interpreters of this rich music. I recommend it heartily.