Joshua Bell and Tchaikovsky

The Bell BoyI’m listening to Joshua Bell performing Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto live in Berlin with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the Berlin Philharmonic. It’s on KUER.

I’ve played in the Utah Symphony as Joshua performed. I’ve listened to him perform Mozart for Gingold’s Birthday Concert in Indiana when Joshua was only 14 years old. Most recently, I’ve sat on the third row of Abravanel Hall and listened to Joshua perform Tchaikovsky from the audience’s perspective. I’ve discussed his Tchaikovsky fingerings with him, something he was happy to do!

While sitting in the Artist’s Lounge backstage on the day of the Tchaikovsky concert, Josh entered the room as unassuming as a shy college student. Nothing of the diva entrances I had experienced from performers in the past, Josh came wearing his jeans and a baggy jacket, gorgeous $4 million Stradivarius casually slung over his left shoulder. No one really noticed that he had arrived for the rehearsal. Why would they?

There is something of this in his playing.

Although he is very famous and spot on accurate and at times extremely powerful, there is a sensitive and tentative quality to his performances which lends a very humane element to his music. He doesn’t command your attention while playing, his sound simply invokes it. His tone is clear and beautiful, yet subtle and inviting at the same time. You will hear nothing of this from more imposing performers such as Anna Sophie Mutter and Kyung wha Chung ; fine performers to be sure! To me, however, they don’t generate the same kind of warmth and compassion in their sound. Although he never really does make a mistake, as Joshua plays, I am acutely aware of the fact that it could possibly happen. He is bravely walking the tightrope stretched tautly between his phenomenal technical experience and his mysterious future and as yet uncharted abilities.

Joshua is a remarkable violinist and person. I hope he will continue to grow and perform for many years to come, as it looks like his plans include:

DPS: When you record Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto this year, will you write the cadenzas?

JB: I haven’t dared yet. That’s for the next recording of that concerto — in 2027!

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3 Comments

Filed under Music Reviews

3 responses to “Joshua Bell and Tchaikovsky

  1. My mom has a crush on Josh Bell.

    So, now you are on WordPress, LiveJournal, and your own webpage! This WordPress site looks quite sharp and lovely– I do think, as far as formatting goes, it’s the best of the three. Do you plan on merging all three together, or keeping them separate?

  2. Yoko – Your mom has good taste. 😉

    Obviously, I have too many webpages *^^* It’s crazy right now. In addition to these three, I have finally got my own wordpress.org site figured out! (Well, I’ve logged on, got the database info working through Cpanel etc.) So I’m looking at themes right now. There are so many!

    I just want more control over the whole thing, but I really like wordpress.com.
    I agree it’s the best of the three – thanks 🙂 It has a great user interface, but at this moment, not many themes.
    Wordpress has a great community (both .org and .com)

    I’m thinking I’ll keep this one for Music and Students etc. No integrating planned at this point (well, I’ve already integrated livejournal and comcast).

    Mostly I’m fooling around with wordpress.org to learn more about coding. Getting my hands dirty, so to speak.
    Now that I have seen how great a blog can look, my original site on comcast.net looks so silly to me! But I’ll still keep it for the moment… the archive goes back to 2003.

  3. Just popping in from Blog Explosion to say hi!

    Have a great day!