Eight Pieces for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano by Max Bruch

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These pieces were written for Bruch’s clarinetist son, Max Felix Bruch (1884-1943). Simrock published the work in 1910 shortly after its completion. The presentation of only three of the eight pieces complies with the desire of the composer, who stated that he did not intend the work to be performed in its entirety at any one time. Heard here in order of performance are No.7, No. 6, and No. 4. Each is a two- or three-part form with the thematic material skillfully dovetailed, shared, or alternated between the clarinet and violin, with the piano providing harmonic support. The “Nachtgesang” piece is illustrative of Bruch’s interest in folk resources, for in previous works he had set Scottish, Swedish, Hebrew, Russian, Welsh, and Celtic tunes. The composer’s gift for lyricism is apparent and gratifying in all of the Opus 83 pieces, leaving Bruch’s listeners wishing he had treated the genre of chamber music more generously.

– Based on notes by Mary Craford.

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