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Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Tuesday, December 29

The recomposing of Mr. Bruch

Synopsis

It might seem odd to think of Max Bruch as a twentieth century composer. After all, his three “Greatest Hits”—his Violin Concerto in G Minor, his “Scottish Fantasy” for violin and orchestra, and his setting of the Hebraic liturgical chant “Kol nidrei” for cello and orchestra -- were all written in the 19th century.

But this archetypal German Romantic composer, who was born in 1838, lived to the ripe old age of 82, and kept producing new works up to the time of his death in 1920.

One of these, a Concerto for Two Pianos, was commissioned by an American duo piano team, Ottilie and Rose Suttro, who premiered it with Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra on today’s date in 1916. The new work was well-received, and its composer praised.

But there is a somewhat ironic historical footnote to this successful premiere: It appears the Suttro Duo drastically revised and even rewrote parts of Bruch’s score for their 1916 performance, unbeknownst to the composer. It wouldn’t be until 1971 that the Concerto was performed as he had actually written it.

Music Played in Today's Program

Max Bruch (1838 – 1920) Concerto for Two Pianos, Op. 88a Güher and Süher Pekinel, pianos;Philharmonia Orchestra; Sir Neville Marriner, cond. Chandos 9711

Additional Information

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