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Romance of the Violin


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Audio CD, October 28, 2003
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Romance of the Violin + Voice of the Violin + Bach
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Product Details

  • Performer: Alexander Borodin, Antonin Dvorak, Claudio Monteverdi, Jules Massenet, Robert Schumann, et al.
  • Conductor: Christoph Willibald Gluck
  • Composer: Joshua Bell, Giacomo Puccini, Claude Debussy, Fryderyk Chopin, Camille Saint-Saens, et al.
  • Audio CD (October 28, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000DG06L
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,466 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. O Mio Babbino Caro - Joshua Bell
2. The Girl With Flaxen Hair (from Preludes, Book I; La fille aux cheveux delin: Prelude for Piano L 117/8)
3. Nocturne in C sharp minor (Op Post)
4. The Swan (from Carnival of the Animals)
5. Serenade (from 'Schwanengesang' song cycle for voice and piano, D 957
6. Casta Diva (from 'Norma')
7. Andante from Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major K. 467
8. Nocturne from Quartet for Strings No. 2 in D Major: 3rd movement
9. Dance of the Blessed Spirits (from 'Orfeo ed Euridice')
10. Songs My Mother Taught Me, song for voice and piano B104/4 Op 55/4
11. Pur ti Miro (from 'L'incoronazione di Poppea')
12. Elegie (Elegie 'O doux printemps d'autrefois' for voice and piano)
13. Traumerei ('Kinderszenen' for piano, Op 15, No. 7 'Dreaming')

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Every track on this CD contains a beautiful melody, many of them easily recognizable, all of them exuding tranquility. "O mio babbino caro" from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi opens the disc, with Bell delicately accompanied by a harp and spinning the long melody with great sensitivity. Bellini's "Casta diva" from Norma lives up to its reputation as the epitome of bel canto in Bell's hands; his violin sings. The middle movement of Mozart's 21st Piano Concerto takes well to the violin, and Debussy's "The Girl with the Flaxen Hair" is played with great warmth and sensuality. It would be easy to turn a recital like this into treacle, but Bell is wise enough to realize that the music is already sweet enough and he plays with great reserve and a minimum of sentimental slides. The light accompaniments always support, with woodwinds prominent but used with grace. This CD, in short, is a beauty: a fine gift, a lovely mood setter. --Robert Levine

Customer Reviews

I love the violin and I enjoy romantic music.
David Enzel
If any of you just want to listen to relaxing, beautiful violin music, THIS is the CD you should all get.
Trebexein
I found the CD Romance of the Violin by Joshua Bell achingly beautiful.
Soot

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Rudy Avila on February 27, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Joshua Bell is one of the leading violinists of our time. Still only in his 30's, he enjoys immense success and popularity in every recital and concert hall here in the States and around the world. He is blessed with the gift of using romantic inflection in his mastership of the violin. And so what if some people find his playing overly sentimental, sweet or overwhelmingly romantic. The violin is itself a romantic instrument. In fact, it's meant to be played romantically in the largo, adagio and andante movements as well as played at a pianissimo range. The rich melody and lyric sweetness of the strings is what most people think about when they consider a violin sound. The exception would be if the violin is being played very rapidly and loudly, where it sounds more dramatic and intense. On this recording, Joshua Bell treats us with mostly gentle music, romantic music and this is why it's perfect for a romantic evening at home (candlelight dinner) or for Valentines Day as another reviewer suggested.
The album opens with a violin version of the soprano aria "O Mio Babbino Caro" from Puccini's opera, "Gianni Schicchi." It's highly suited for a violin, since a violin is a instrumental soprano. The soprano female voice and the sound of the violin seem to match perfectly in pitch and tone, while also capable of flexible shifts and leaps, remaining silvery and resonant in the lower registers and glowing at the top. This album uses other soprano arias from opera, including "Casta Diva" from Bellini's Norma. This aria is considered virtuosic, spiritually tender as well as dramatic and only a few tessitura sopranos could handle both the long flowing vocal line as well as the heavy dramatic vocal crescendo. On the violin, the aria sounds heavenly.
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127 of 133 people found the following review helpful By M. Baker on October 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Violinist Joshua Bell's latest offering, Romance of the Violin, captures the dreamy abandon of an intimate visit. Bell infuses Craig Leon's lush arrangements with a sensitive lyricism that results in sumptuous readings without the slightest trace of sentimentality or self-consciousness. Each timeless, classic melody has been recast to lend itself not only to the breadth and depth of the violin in general, but to the unique pointed, glistening nuance of this violinist in particular. Bell conveys the breathless anticipation of a rendezvous with a lover who greets his adored with a serenade before climbing up the trellis to embrace her. This recording calls to mind those moments when time stands still: catching a glimpse of fire-streaked clouds at sunset or falling under the gaze of one's beloved. Absolutely Joshua Bell at his finest. Heavenly.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By 24/F Review on May 23, 2004
Format: Audio CD
It's demanding a lot, but if you take a leap of faith and look past the frankly dubious cover picture and title, Joshua Bell's latest offering is just as innovative and refreshing as his earlier works like The Kreisler Album and The Red Violin soundtrack.
It takes guts to pick some of the best-loved pieces of classical music and opera from the last five centuries and to arrange them for the violin, but that's exactly what Bell and producer Craig Leon have done.
Rich yet tremulous, a lush arrangement of Puccini's O Mio Babbino Caro opens the album, followed by two standards for the piano: Debussy's The Girl With The Flaxen Hair and a rendition of Chopin's Nocturne In C-Sharp Minor. The latter starts off almost baroque in feel, but when Bell's violin kicks in with its haunting and mournful refrain, it almost hurts to be confronted with such an exquisite melody.
Originally a cello piece, Saint-Saën's The Swan has been transported by the violin's brighter, higher tones into a relatively insubstantial, blink-or-you'll-miss-it flight of fancy. Schubert's Serenade is equally joyous, and in lieu of the original vocals, Bell's violin meets the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in a pleasing rendezvous.
Skipping forward several decades to the Romantic period, Songs My Mother Taught Me is appropriately dreamy and nostalgic but it isn't as good as the final track, a lilting and fluid version of Schumann's Träumerai.
Bell's 290-year-old Strad imbues each note with tantalising hints of untold depths: it sings, it screams and at times it seems to have a voice and soul of its own. Bell may merely be the 'translator', but he interprets each note from the heart and it shows.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By David Enzel VINE VOICE on November 20, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I will preface this review by saying that I am not an expert about classical music. I love the violin and I enjoy romantic music. I know what I like.
I have Joshua Bell's Kreisler album and have enjoyed it very much for years. This new CD is absolutely one of the most beautiful collections of music I have ever heard. The sound is rich beyond belief and the melodies are very romantic. I can't stop listening to this. Bell must have played from his soul. Every single piece is a winner. The violin has a way of capturing the bittersweet essence of life and Bell has extraordinary skill.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Soot on November 7, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I found the CD Romance of the Violin by Joshua Bell achingly beautiful. His expressiveness is almost overwhelming. I was impressed by the lightness of his touch which allows the violin to sing with the softest notes particularly in the higher registers. I have heard his mastery in West Side Story Suite and Gershwin but I believe it is the tone and touch in this beautiful music that reaches in to touch the soul. Being in Australia, I could not even buy this CD in the shop, but had to import it. Having heard his playing on "Mi Mancherai" on the Josh Groban CD I was determined to find his music and now that I have been introduced to this wizard I want to hear more. Enthralling interpretations of beautiful music that puts the heart at peace.
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