Voice of the Violin (Bonus Version)
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Young English virtuoso Joshua Bell attempts an intriguing gambit here: Arrange and translate a slate of classical songs, arias and wordless pieces originally written for the human voice as a showcase for his expressive gifts on solo violin. While it's clearly intended to trade on the commercial success of Bell's previous Romance of the Violin anthology, the repertoire choices and execution here frequently transcend any concerns about the sequelitis that likely inspired them. With the exception of a notable duet with pianist Frederic Chiu on Debussy's "Beau Soir," Bell's playing is cast against orchestral arrangements that subtly reinforce or contrast his rich, emotionally-charged touch. Bell swoops, soars and flutters through a slate of material that includes expected crowd-pleasers like "Ave Maria" and "Carmina Burana," yet one ultimately characterized by a compelling eclecticism. The virtuoso's affection for his instrument is not sacrosanct however, as his standout duet with popular contemporary soprano Anna Netrebko on Strauss' "Morgen!" attests, a rewarding performance that ultimately underscores the collection's titular conceit.
I remember when Ivo Pogorelish started his career playing the piano back in the early 80's or so.. He was as controversial then as he is now. Nonetheless, love him or hate him, he makes his intrument speak to you in ways that generate emotions of wonder and amazement. He makes love to his instrument when he plays and he doesn't care whether you like what he does or not. I have been a classical music lover for a very long time. Watching this young man play his violin reminds me of the days when Pogorelish woo-ed me with his interpretations of the various concertos written by the masters of the past. Joshua Bell is and will continue to generate emotions in one's soul that will make listening to the violin a pleasure beyond compare. The violin can be loved or hated. Imagine some twisted horse hair on a bow being stroked across some metal strings and try to imagine, having never heard a violin, what that would sound like. Then, just add the name Joshua Bell and it will be like the old violin being auctioned off for one dollar, two dollars three dollars...four...... Joshua would be the master that would make that violin sell for one thousand, two thousand three thousand...four. It's just the touch of the master's hand. Joshua Bell is a true master. And all of this without the controversy of his earlier contemporary who plays the piano. What more could one want.
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I bought the complete CD on I-Tunes, and I really appreciate the digital booklet. It's important to me to see what the artist has to say about the music, and Joshua Bell shows great repsect to the music and to those before him , Kreisler, Heifetz etc, who preceeded him in doing these sorts of arrangements. In both the writing and the music playing, Joshua seems truly humble, giving credit to his collaborators (all named) and the original composers. He dosen't just play Ave Maria; he shares it with choir and orchestra. Una Furtiva Lagrima opens not with violin, but with a very nice bassoon solo. The Nana from DeFalla now includes guitar, adding a very nice Spanish touch for those of us who have heard the violin/piano version all our lives. It's also a treat to hear the Apre Un Reve in two versions! I could go on, but I'll just finish with, "great choices well played by all!"
A huge fan of Joshua Bell, I had no idea that he was releasing another album. I just happen to get on ITunes today and what a surprise! After listening to a few tracks, I am already astounded. As always, Bell delivers wonderful, breathtaking, beautiful sound filled with emotion. His "Ave Maria" really took the cake; I had searched everywhere in hopes of finding such a beautiful version and here we are, straight from the hands and heart of Bell. I strongly recommend this album and know you will enjoy it; if you like beautiful things( most of us do) then this is ten dollars well spent.
Born: December 9, 1967 in Bloomington, IN
Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s