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Brahms, Schumann: Violin Concertos / Bell, Dohnanyi
Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann, Christoph von Dohnányi
Brahms, Schumann: Violin Concertos / Bell, Dohnanyi
Genre: Classical
 
Joshua Bell is not only one of the finest violinists of his generation, he is also adventurous enough to pair a famous piece with a neglected one. Schumann's concerto, written a year before his mental collapse and suppress...  more »

      
   
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Joshua Bell is not only one of the finest violinists of his generation, he is also adventurous enough to pair a famous piece with a neglected one. Schumann's concerto, written a year before his mental collapse and suppressed by his wife and friends as unworthy of him, was not performed for over 80 years and has only recently found active champions. The first movement sounds the most inspired, with its dramatic, full-bodied opening and beautifully rhapsodic, lyrical second theme. In the inward, subdued slow movement, a tender melody takes wing only gradually. The finale is a lovely, playful dance, padded with too many running passages. The violin writing is almost unplayable and Bell, who clearly loves the piece and plays it superbly, has undertaken discreet amendments. His Brahms is grand: large-scaled, free, fiery, intense, austere, poetic, always expressive and technically brilliant. He uses his own cadenza, which displays his soaring, radiant high register and facility in single, double, and triple stops to fine advantage, but is harmonically a bit alien to the style. The recorded sound does not always do justice to his tone, especially high up, and the orchestra is sometimes too loud. --Edith Eisler

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