John Milsom
The Strad
June 2015

Jack Liebeck (a professor at the Royal Academy of Music) gives us two lesser-known works by Bruch. The Third Concerto is at least as memorable as the first and is given a commendably clear reading here, although the brassy timbre of orchestra and soloist at the very opening hints at a harsh, treble-biased recording set-up, which takes a bit of getting used to. Liebeck's playing soon proves to be clean, tidy and free from undue mannerism. The first movement contains the best playing; the slow movement is a little inengaging and the last is thwarted by slightly harsh staccatos. The Scottish Fantasy—an extended work dedicated to Joseph Joachim's polar opposite, Sarasate—is played with a great sense of fun (as in the final Allegro guerriero), and some soulful and evocative landscape painting at the start.