Bruch was firmly placed within the conservative romantic tradition in nineteenth century Germany and can be seen as a natural successor to the fresh, lyrical style of Mendelssohn and Schumann. His opposition to progressives such as Liszt and Wagner earnt him the predictable tag of being “old-fashioned”, but the raw emotional power of his music was never doubted.
His Violin Concerto No.1 is arguably one of the finest works for violin and orchestra ever composed, and although not wildly original in form or instrumental writing, its romantic lyricism is exceptional.
Bruch’s work was quite diverse, from oratorios and concerti to traditional symphonic writing. Bruch even took an interest in Jewish religious music, and composed the popular quasi-cello concerto Kol Nidre, based on the Jewish prayer for the dead.