Search - Jean Sibelius, Karl Goldmark, Esa-Pekka Salonen :: Joshua Bell ~ Sibelius Goldmark - Violin Concertos / Los Angeles Philharmonic Salonen

Joshua Bell ~ Sibelius · Goldmark - Violin Concertos / Los Angeles Philharmonic · Salonen
Jean Sibelius, Karl Goldmark, Esa-Pekka Salonen
Joshua Bell ~ Sibelius Goldmark - Violin Concertos / Los Angeles Philharmonic Salonen
Genre: Classical
 
Joshua Bell has returned to the mainstream repertoire from his recent successful excursions into film (The Red Violin) and bluegrass-crossover (Short Trip Home), and his playing, always brilliant, and arresting, has reache...  more »

     
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Joshua Bell has returned to the mainstream repertoire from his recent successful excursions into film (The Red Violin) and bluegrass-crossover (Short Trip Home), and his playing, always brilliant, and arresting, has reached a new peak. Despite the booklet's claim to the contrary, these two concertos have nothing in common except fiendishly difficult bravura solo parts; rather, they represent a perfectly valid pairing of opposites. Bell makes the most of the contrasts, bringing out each work's idiomatic character. The Sibelius, from the eerily icy opening to the exuberant ending, is heavy, rugged, austere, majestic, expansive, with grand, intense climaxes. The Goldmark has a Hungarian flavor with its romantic, melancholy lyricism, poetic, almost religious inwardness, charm, and vitality. Bell's effortless virtuosity is unlimited but entirely unobtrusive; his intonation is perfect, the passage-work crystal clear. He seems incapable of producing a bad sound, even in double and triple stops; his tone is ravishingly beautiful, radiant as golden sunshine, warm as dark velvet. Best of all, he makes music: every note is expressive, everything has shape and direction; the playing is always noble, honestly felt, and without excess or exaggeration. --Edith Eisler

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CD Reviews

Bell and Salonen: A Fine Collaboration!
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Joshua Bell continues to mature as a soloist. With every passing year his tone becomes ever more rich and luxurious and his technique now literally sparkles with virtuosity. And given the fact that this recording of the Sibelius and Goldmark Violin Concertos is five years old now makes the listener want to seek out contemporary collaborations between Bell and Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic to discover how each has grown.

This pairing of Sibelius with Goldmark is very wise: the two concertos are so widely different that they create a fine continuum of just what the violin is capable of doing. The Sibelius, played here with passion and all the aura of the high north of Scandinavia, finds Joshua Bell in committed form: the phrasing is liquid and longing, the rapid sequences are articulated with utter ease, and the soaring conclusion is among the finest recorded. Salonen and the LA Phil provide that wondrous sonic support for which they are so well known.

The Goldmark concerto is less well known to the concertgoer, so ensconced is it in folk rhythms and flavors that it longs for a line of continuity. Yet Bell tosses off this fiendish work with aplomb and makes it seem a natural for the standard repertoire.

Hearing this recording makes one want to attend a concert performance today, with the same forces, and with the associated growth in expressivity of all concerned. A fine recording. Grady Harp, October 05"
Excessive rather than expressive
Randy C. Baer | Los Angeles, California | 10/01/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Bell's prodigious technique not withstanding, he continually approaches the repetoire as a personal Rorshach, rather than a journey to the composer's intention. In concert, he bends and sways like a fiddler at a Hungarian restaurant. Judging by this Sibelius, he's never met a ritard he didn't like. All of that herky-jerky stopping and starting all but ruins the gorgeous through line of this miraculous concerto. Sibelius may have been a romantic, but his Finnish personality was cooler by many Celsius degrees than the stereotypical sheen given by Mr. Bell. By contrast, Salonen's accompaniment with the L.A. Phil may be even more persuasive than his work with The Philharmonia for Cho-Liang Lin. But Lin's absolute understanding of the work, his intelligence, clarity, beautiful tone...his total approach makes this the recording to own. Lin has unjustifiably never attained the superstar status of Bell, but he is by far the greater musician."
LACK OF SOMETHING ON MY PART
GEORGE RANNIE | DENVER, COLORADO United States | 05/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Due to, I'm sure, a lack of musical sophistication on my part, I've never really had much of an appreciation for Sibelius's violin Concerto. I have always loved many works by Jean (mainly his symphonies) just not his Violin Concerto which, in the past, has failed to move me in any way. I must put a fine point on the aforesaid. I have indeed heard some live performances of the Sibelius violin Concerto that I have been "moved" by; however, the recordings that I've heard have left me rather "cold" until this recording with Bell and Salonen. They deliver it wonderfully! Bell plays the outer fast movements with breathtaking virtuosity and the slow one with great feeling; the melodies really flow in a beautiful arch of sound. To me, Bell's tone is gorgeous Salonen is a most sensitive accompanist always keeping his forces under great control and never allowing them to drown out the soloist as I have heard in other recordings. I feel that one of the main reasons I enjoyed this recording of the Sibelius so much is the recording itself--the balance along with the sound is marvelous.

The Goldmark concerto is played wonderfully too. Bell again delivers its many melodies wonderfully and again the balance of the recording added to my enjoyment.
If you like romantic violin concertos, you can't get any better than this--two great artist (Bell and Salonen at the height of their powers.
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