The cover photo captures one man and his dog. The man is Jack Liebeck who couples Schoenberg (first up) and Brahms, their respective Violin Concertos, the former a rarity, the latter an evergreen. Liebeck has already championed Max Bruch’s complete music for violin and orchestra (three excellent and revealing Hyperion CDs reviewed by myself on Classical Source: just put “Jack Liebeck Bruch” into that site’s search facility and they will appear), and now, once again with producer Andrew Keener, Liebeck sets out to win Schoenberg’s ambitious Opus 36 new friends. He succeeds, and also writes a personal intro for the booklet.
The work dates from 1936 and was premiered in Philadelphia four years later by Louis Krasner, Stokowski conducting. However tautly organised the Concerto is, in every particular, it is also expressive and vivid, volatile in its changes of mood over three substantial movements, and Liebeck is a devoted advocate of it, benefitting from a well-delineated rendering of the complex orchestration by Andrew Gourlay and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Not many violinists play the Schoenberg, Viktoria Mullova, Michael Barenboim and Patricia Kopatchinskaja are three, to which Jack Liebeck’s name can be added with intense distinction.
And he plays the Brahms (so much recorded competition with this one) with notable fervour and sensitivity, freshness and beauty of tone, within broadly traditional lines, adding Fritz Kreisler’s (rather good) cadenza to the first movement instead of the standard one by Joachim. Available on the Orchid Classics label, ORC100129.