- String Quartet No.1 in C minor, Op. 9
The Max Bruch works on this album range from rare (the "String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 9," and "Piano Quintet in G minor") to almost-never-played since the 19th century (the "Swedish Dances, Op. 63"). With the possible exception of the youthful "C minor string quartet," an accurate essay in the style of Mendelssohn, they're worth a revival even if nothing here is a barn-burner. The performances from the Goldner String Quartet and pianist Piers Lane are accurate and enthusiastic. The "Piano Quintet in G minor" was written in Liverpool, where Bruch had taken up a post as conductor; he wrote the piece for local musicians and tempered its technical demands accordingly without losing a very Brahmsian feel. Perhaps the most worthwhile work is the set of "Swedish Dances," for which Bruch had high and unfulfilled hopes. Certainly modeled on the "Hungarian Dances" of Brahms, and not having tunes that leave you whistling, they nevertheless hold your attention through the variety of tempo and treatment they bring to folk-inspired materials. They could provide a happy interlude for any violin recital, as they do here. Superb, close-up Potton Hall sound from Hyperion is another attraction of this recital that should appeal to those with an interest in Bruch.