A highly versatile musician, Ulf Wallin has recorded a succession of discs for BIS, including music by Schoenberg, Schnittke, Janacek and Hindemith. Lately he has focussed on Romantic composers, resulting in an acclaimed recording of Schumann's complete works for violin and orchestra (Daily Telegraph: 'It’s hard to imagine more sympathetic and insightful performances of these wonderful pieces'), as well as a disc with music for violin and piano by Liszt. Supported by the eminent Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin conducted by Okko Kamu, Wallin now offers a programme spanning some 30 years of the long career of Max Bruch – from the Second Violin Concerto from 1877 to the Konzertstück for violin and orchestra, composed in 1910. Born in 1838, Max Bruch grew up surrounded by the music of Mendelssohn, Chopin and Beethoven, and he remained deeply rooted in Romanticism until the end of his life. Himself a pianist, Bruch nevertheless claimed that the violin was his favourite instrument ‘because the violin can sing a melody better than the piano, and melody is the soul of music’. His first violin concerto was composed in 1866, and became an instant success – as well as a lasting one: it remains one of the best-loved concertos in the violin repertoire, and is probably the composer's most often performed work. It was when he heard Pablo de Sarasate's performance of it that Bruch decided to compose a second concerto for the Spanish virtuoso – and although the D minor concerto has enjoyed less success with the public than its predecessor, both the composer and its dedicatee considered it a superior composition. Some fifteen years later, it was to Joseph Joachim that Bruch dedicated In Memoriam, a single-movement work to which the composer declined suggestions to add additional movements on the basis that the work was perfectly complete as it was. In contrast, the Konzertstück was originally planned as another violin concerto, but in the end developed into a work in two movements, the second one based on the Irish folk song The Little Red Lark.
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