Aside from his popular Violin Concerto no. 1, “Kol Nidrei” numbers among Max Bruch’s most famous compositions. The melancholy “Adagio after Hebrew melodies” was written in 1880 for the cellist Robert Hausmann. It treats two old Jewish songs whose extraordinary beauty proved deeply moving to the Protestant Bruch, by his own admission. The tenor cello sound is the ideal medium for the voice of a Jewish cantor, and thus to this day “Kol Nidrei” offers every cellist a wonderful opportunity to make the instrument “sing”. In this text, based on the first edition of 1881, “Kol Nidrei” appears for the first time in an Urtext edition substantiated by scholarly research, for which not just the musical sources, but also numerous letters and documents from the Max Bruch Archive were consulted. Christian Poltéra was able to be procured for the markings in the solo part.
Read more about this edition in the Henle Blog.
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We owe one of Max Bruch’s most beautiful works – his Kol Nidrei – to the cellist Robert Hausmann (1852 – 1909), its dedicatee. As Bruch (1838 – 1920) later reported to a friend, Hausmann “did not cease to drum and hammer away at me until I had written the piece” (letter of 31 January 1882 to Emil Kamphausen; all letters are cited here as in the … more
About the composer
A German composer of the Romantic period. Stylistically, his works outline a counter-aesthetic to the New German School. His violin concerti are particularly significant, but he also wrote numerous choral works, cantatas, oratorios, songs, stage works and orchestral pieces.
|1838||Born in Cologne on January 6. He received his first musical training from his mother, a singer.|
|from 1849||Music instruction from Heinrich Carl Breidenstein. Writes many compositions even though still a child.|
|1852||Scholarship recipient of Frankfurt’s Mozart Foundation.|
|1853–57||Studies composition with Ferdinand Hiller in Cologne.|
|1858||Premiere in Cologne of his opera “Scherz, List und Rache” (“Jest, Cunning, and Revenge”), op. 1.|
|from 1858||In Leipzig he associates himself with those around Mendelssohn.|
|1862||Moves to Mannheim.|
|1863||Premiere in Mannheim of his opera “Die Loreley,” op. 16.|
|1865–67||Music director in Koblenz. Composes his Violin Concerto no. 1 in G minor, op. 26.|
|1867–70||Court musical director in Sondershausen. Composes his Symphony no. 1 in E-flat major, op. 28, dedicated to Johannes Brahms, and Symphony no. 2 in F minor, op. 36 (both in 1870).|
|1870–78||Freelance composer in Berlin and Bonn. Composes the oratorio Odysseus, op. 41 (1871/72).|
|1879/80||Composition of the Fantasy in E-flat major, op. 46 (Scottish Fantasy) for violin and orchestra.|
|1880–83||Director of the Philharmonic Society in Liverpool.|
|from 1883||Travels to the United States. Director of the Breslauer Orchesterverein (Wrocław Orchestral Society).|
|from 1891||Director of the composition masterclass at the Berlin Academy of the Arts. Honorary doctorate from Cambridge University (1893), and membership of the Académie des Beaux Arts (1898).|
|1907||Vice-President of the Academy of the Arts, Berlin.|
|1920||Dies in Berlin on October 2.|