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Chamber Music - Released January 6, 2012 | Sony Classical

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles de Classica
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Violin Concertos - Released June 22, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
While Max Bruch's First Concerto was recorded, re-recorded and over-recorded to the nth degree, we can't say the same of Bruch's very elegant Scottish Fantasy Enter Joshua Bell, the new artistic director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, both playing the violin and heading up an ensemble to offer us both the Concerto – which he had recorded about thirty years ago with Marriner – and the Fantasy, a discographic first for him. This Fantasy, written in 1880 after the Second Concerto, was Sarasate but first performed by Joachim. The composer weaves it together from an infinitely elegant tissue of themes, and melodic impressions of Scotland, real or imagined. Joshua Bell, of Scottish descent himself, swims like a wild salmon through the clear waters of lochs and highland torrents, while the orchestra, clearly rapt, offers him a beautiful foil. © SM/Qobuz
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Concertos - Released September 26, 2014 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released September 30, 2016 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Symphonic Music - Released March 15, 2013 | Sony Classical

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released October 6, 1999 | Sony Classical

Distinctions Sélection du Mercury Prize
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Classical - Released January 1, 1996 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released October 20, 2003 | Sony Classical

This CD from the young American violin phenomenon Joshua Bell will fill the bill for background music in restaurants with a lot of velour, and it might be nice for the car CD player on a late-night cruise along the shore. For others, however, it may be a bit of a bore. The disc offers 50-plus minutes of sheer melody, all of it in nearly the same moderate tempo. Despite its name, most of the music on this release is arranged for violin and orchestra from vocal or keyboard pieces; there is one cello work, the "Swan" section of Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals, and the closest thing to original violin music is the Nocturne movement from Borodin's String Quartet No. 2. There are several operatic melodies ("O mio babbino caro," "Casta diva," and, more surprisingly, "Pur ti miro" from Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea), and some short piano tunes. Romance of the Violin is essentially a classical greatest-hits collection, one of many available, and more expensive than most at a hefty $18.98 list. The orchestral arrangements are by pop producer Craig Leon, and though they're precisely rendered by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in the finest sound Sony has to offer, they have a very familiar kind of sameness. Romance needn't be, shouldn't be, so monochrome, and this is a lateral move at best for Bell, who has shown great promise as the player who might bridge the gap between classical music's traditional listenership and its new crossover audiences.
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Classical - Released September 15, 2006 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released June 25, 2001 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Film Soundtracks - Released November 1, 2004 | Sony Classical

Ladies in Lavender, actor Charles Dance's debut as a film director, has been out for some time overseas, but was slated for general release in the U.S. at the end of April 2005. Sony Classical cannily timed the release of the original soundtrack. The film was said to be a feel-good romance starring Dame Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and newcomer Daniel Brühl, about a young Polish violinist who washes up from a shipwreck into the lives of two older women of Cornwall. It is a clean picture and highly sentimental, the kind of typically "British" film made mostly for export to other countries. Nigel Hess' soundtrack music to Ladies in Lavender incorporates the singular talents of classical violinist Joshua Bell to cover Brühl's playing in the picture. Hess has stated that Bell "takes the music I've written to a whole new level. (It's) like stepping into a really expensive Rolls Royce." Bell is heard on most of Ladies in Lavender's 16 tracks, which range rather widely in content. Beginning with Hess' cleverly conceived theme to the picture, containing a sententious scrap of Massenet's "Meditation" from Thaïs to associate the violin music with Brühl's character, the score moves through a traditional Polish dance obviously meant to be played with some abandon, and concludes with a straight-up rendition of Paganini's Variations of "The Carnival of Venice." Bell is on the mark at every turn; he isn't just trading in on his celebrity value to participate in this film score -- Bell is creating through his playing a characterization that suits the work that the actor is doing onscreen. The music throughout is sweet, light, and sentimental. If one already likes the picture Ladies in Lavender, this practically recommends itself, but with the absence of any real adult contemporary music on today's market, Ladies in Lavender might well appeal to grownups who want to enjoy music that is easy to like, emotional, and of a highly professional caliber.
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Classical - Released October 16, 2009 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released August 13, 1999 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released January 12, 2015 | Sony Classical

Booklet
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Classical - Released January 1, 2012 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Familiarity usually breeds contempt, but in music, overexposure most often leads to indifference: attempts to revive a tired warhorse like Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major may attract the attention of specialists, but jaded listeners are unlikely to get excited over yet another acclaimed release and may pass it by without a thought. But when Joshua Bell performs -- nay, resuscitates -- the concerto, with the superb backing of Michael Tilson Thomas and the Berlin Philharmonic, listeners should take notice. Granted, nothing new has been discovered in the score, and there's nothing especially revelatory about the restored cuts in the Finale, which Bell finds significant. However, because he favors the most lyrical passages, particularly in his gorgeously soulful interpretation of the Canzonetta, and puts less emphasis on the flashy elements (note his tendresse in, of all places, the cadenza), this concerto actually breathes again, and Bell and Tilson Thomas have given it a new lease on life in this enthusiastically received concert recording. For filler, Bell provides what Tchaikovsky originally intended to be the concerto's slow movement, the Méditation in D minor, as orchestrated by Glazunov, and the "Danse russe" from Swan Lake, which is one of the more concerto-like selections from the ballet. This recording offers exceptionally realistic depth and presents Bell with an almost palpable presence.
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 1988 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released January 1, 1997 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

A very light but very lovely disc of mid-twentieth century violin concertos, this 1996 recording by Joshua Bell with David Zinman directing the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra coupling the concertos of Samuel Barber and William Walton along with Baal Shem, the concerto-in-all-but-in-name by Ernest Bloch, may be for younger listeners a first choice among digital recordings. American virtuoso Bell possesses the kind of agile technique, sweet tone, and easy elegance that make him an ideal soloist for these works. His Barber sings, his Bloch wails, and his Walton goes beyond the work's achingly glorious lyricism to its melancholic core. And while the Baltimore Symphony may not be one of the best-known American orchestras, under the astute and alert leadership of Zinman it has both the polish and power to support Bell with style and flair. Some older listeners may recall with fondness Stern's radiant performance of the Barber concerto and Heifetz's mercurial performance of Walton's concerto, but even old timers may concede that Bell's lighter performances are possibly more lovely -- and perhaps just as successful. Decca's digital sound is close and clear, but deep and full.
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Decca Music Group Ltd.