French Impressions, Joshua Bell's first recital program for Sony Classical features the Grammy Award-winning violinist and his longtime friend and recital partner, pianist Jeremy Denk, offering a passionately nuanced interpretation of works by Saint-Saens, Ravel and Franck.
When Bell and Denk performed Saint-Saens Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Minor during their 2010 recital tour, the New York Times raved "Mr. Bell and Mr. Denk gave a passionate performance…There were plenty of fireworks in the whirlwind of the concluding movement."
Says Bell, "French Impressions is the culmination of my last decade of exploration and performance with pianist Jeremy Denk, and I hope that with this recording we can affect the listener with the same joy and spiritual enrichment that these masterpieces have provided us over the years."
Repertoire: Bell's first recording of Cesar Franck's Violin Sonata in A Major allows Bell to pay homage, through his mentor Josef Gingold, to the two great artists who created this undying masterpiece. It was written 125 years ago, at the height of the French Belle Epoque, for the wedding of Franck's friend, the virtuoso Eugene Ysaye (with whom Gingold studied). In his music, Franck captured everything about the time: life, love, passion. While the Franck piece has the biggest reputation, the Saint-Saens remains one of the most exciting sonatas in the repertoire, richly sensual within a formal scheme that Beethoven would recognize. The feverish finale is guaranteed to bring the house down. Ravel's more fantastic sonata, by turns ethereal, earthy, abstract and sensual, offers a kaleidoscope of different thrills. Produced by multiple Grammy Award-winner Steven Epstein.