Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto Hybrid SACD - DSD
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Bell continues to grow as an artist and much of that growth comes in the quality of tone he now produces. It is creamy where called for and crisp and incisive when challenged. His approach to the Tchaikovsky is a passionate one, though without the overplaying that creeps into so many other violinist's readings. He is well supported by the Berlin Philharmonic under the warmly compatible leadership of Michael Tilson Thomas. This is a Tchaikovsky concerto performance to cherish.
Adding to the recording are three well selected works by Tchaikovsky - the playful 'Danse Russe' from 'Swan Lake', 'Meditation, in D major', and 'Serenade melancolique, for violin & orchestra in B minor'. They are beautifully performed and feel like well-deserved encores to the concerto! Highly recommended. Grady Harp, October 05
My main complaint is with the 1st movement (allegro moderato). In an effort to make it more intimate he has slowed it down to the point that it really seems to drag. It's about half a minute longer than the first movement in his 1988 recording, but to be honest it seems much longer. I've always viewed the first movement as being more of an orchestral piece than a violin solo, and because the solo parts are slower, the speed of the orchestra seems ponderous and lacks life. The third movement is a full minute longer than his 1988 recording. However, I don't think it's as noticeable because the third movement is sometimes played too fast anyway, and I think slowing it down allows the audience to hear the notes better. This is not neccessary with the first movement, because it generally has a slower pace and longer notes to begin with.
You can understand how someone like Joshua Bell, who has already recorded most of the standard repertoir, may want to challenge himself and the audience by trying different interpretations of the standard violin fare.Read more ›
As I said then, classical music collectors traditionally want more than a good performance, which in the CD era are a dime a dozen. To spend money on a full-price CD -- or, in this case, a $10-$16 CD -- buyers want not only performance but truthful sound and packaging that meets their needs.
In this recording, the interpretation is brilliant, the recording is magnificent but hardly truthful, and the packaging borders on failure. First, Bell's interpreation, captured from a January 2005 concert recording in the Berlin Philharmonie.
Bell, who is among the most precocious of today's young wunderkinds, is so different here from his recording of the Beethoven and Mendelssohn concertos that he appears to be a different person. He even looks like a different person on the CD cover and inside pages (more on that later.)
His playing eshcews the fire and brimstone violinists have portrayed in this most romantic of concertos. In its place, Bell substitutes unTchaikovskyian subtlety, lingering rhapsody, and portamento on distended themes in his near 20-minute operning Allego moderato. This not only changes the character of the score marking to Adagio, it creates a different concerto than many have ever heard.
His approach is detailed in the notes and maybe best described when Linda Kobler says: "Bell compares the concerto's strenuous non-stop soloist's playing to 'running the four minute mile.' Its (the concerto's) brilliant execution is still, however, the sine qua non of great violin playing."
Does it succeed? That depends on your perspective.Read more ›
For this recording, Bell has selected one of his favorites, the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. This is not his first recording of the work, but he has said in interviews it is one of his favorite pieces and he likes to explore ways of nuancing his interpretations. This is the case in this recording. Bell gives a solid performance of the work and since it is a live recording, there is a certain intensity not always found in studio recordings. There are two studio recorded pieces included on the disc: The Meditation in D Minor and the Russian Dance from SWAN LAKE. The Meditation provides the listener another opportunity to hear Bell's sumptuous playing and the Russian Dance gives him the opportunity to display the musical fireworks he can employ to thrill an audience. The Berlin Philharmonic is under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Thomas' conducting is more subdued than other well known Berlin Philharmonic conductors of the past, namely Karajan and Bohm, but it seems as if he does so to bring out the soloist's gifts. Unfortunately, the orchestral playing does not match the excitement of Bell's playing at some points in the Concerto and in the Russian Dance.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am not a musicologist, and my rating of 5 stars may be influenced by emotional aspects. – That said, I recommend this CD to anybody who likes “the Tchaikovsky”, to fans of Josh... Read morePublished 5 months ago by alius
This performance seems both muddy and lazy. Very disappointing.Published 6 months ago by Ralph Beer
It doesn't get any better than this violinist and this piece of musicPublished 12 months ago by ahcompton
Joshua Bell may be a controversial violin performer but I think that his interpretation of this concert is outstanding.Published 12 months ago by Robert Cartwright
We recently saw Joshua Bell perform this Concerto in person. The CD was the next best, with outstanding audio quality. Highly recommended.Published 13 months ago by Duane W. Roberts
I have never been so moved by a piece of music as this one. End of story! : )
I don't know if it's the music or the performer and I'm not super-knowledgeable about such... Read more