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Joshua Bell|Voice of the Violin

Voice of the Violin

Joshua Bell

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Following his 2003 crossover smash Romance of the Violin, wunderkind Joshua Bell and his sonically awesome 1713 Stradivarius (he clutches it closely like a nervous lover in the back cover photo, seemingly afraid it will desert him) pursues a related project with Voice of the Violin. Whereas Romance of the Violin drew on pieces originally written in a variety of media, Voice of the Violin shows Bell's ability to make his instrument "sing" in vocal pieces. As with the earlier album, Bell goes for a specific type of piece -- slow or moderate in tempo, with a passionate, wide-ranging melody that allows him to show off his rich, spacious sound on both the violin's bottom and top strings. There are orchestral and keyboard-accompanied songs, operatic arias, Rachmaninov's Vocalise, and sacred pieces, all but one heard here in new orchestral arrangements. Many of these are by film composer J.A.C. Redford, and they have a film-music quality -- they combine sentiment with a certain background-music feel, with low contrast from piece to piece. Bell doesn't program any fiery, fast-tempo music, generating variety instead through slow rises in intensity that culminate in a luscious performance of Debussy's song Beau soir (Beautiful Evening) accompanied by piano on track 11, and in the introduction of an actual voice, that of operatic soprano Anna Netrebko, on Richard Strauss' Morgen! (Tomorrow!), the final track. Bell alludes to the example of Heifetz and other violin stars who frequently performed arrangements, but Heifetz would never have played a program as homogeneous as this one. Bell appeals to a desire for surface sensuousness alone. But he executes his plan well, and anyone in need of a demonstration of his formidable talent should check out track 6, the "Laudate Dominum" aria from Mozart's Vesperae de Confessore, K. 339. This long, slow-unfolding melody is a challenge for singers in its vocal version; generating the breath to support it all the way through is quite a task. The high, quiet entrances and the subtle dynamics challenge the violinist equally severely, but Bell's performance is a model of control and resultant tranquility. For the car, for the commute, even for the romantic encounter, this disc has its uses. Those who would prefer to hear Bell in mainstream repertory may find it a bit limited in variety, but this rising megastar has certainly pulled off another flawless performance.
© TiVo

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Voice of the Violin

Joshua Bell

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1
Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14 (Arranged for Violin & Orchestra)
00:05:49

Joshua Bell, Arranger, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Violin - Michael Stern, Conductor - Grace Row, Producer - Sergei Rachmaninov, Composer - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

2
Ave Maria, D. 839
00:04:39

Joshua Bell, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Violin - Michael Stern, Conductor - Grace Row, Producer - Franz Schubert, Composer - James Kessler, Arranger - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer

(P) 2006 Sony Music Entertainment

3
Werther: Pourquoi me réveiller (Arr. for Violin and Orchestra)
00:02:34

Joshua Bell, Arranger, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Violin - Michael Stern, Conductor - Grace Row, Producer - Jules Massenet, Composer - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer - J.A.C. Redford, Arranger, Orchestrator

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

4
Après un rêve, Op. 7, No. 1
00:02:46

Joshua Bell, Arranger, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Violin - Michael Stern, Conductor - Grace Row, Producer - Gabriel Fauré, Composer - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer - J.A.C. Redford, Arranger, Orchestrator

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

5
Rusalka, Op. 114: Song to the Moon
00:05:25

Joshua Bell, Arranger, Main Artist, Violin - Michael Stern, Conductor - Grace Row, Producer - Antonin Dvorak, Composer - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer - J.A.C. Redford, Arranger, Orchestrator

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

6
Vesperae solennes de confessore, K.339: V. Laudate Dominum (Arr. for Violin and Orchestra by Joshua Bell)
00:04:40

Joshua Bell, Arranger, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Violin - Michael Stern, Conductor - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer - Grace Row, Producer - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer - J.A.C. Redford, Arranger, Orchestrator

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

7
None but the Lonely Heart, Op. 6, No. 6
00:02:47

Joshua Bell, Arranger, Main Artist, Violin - Michael Stern, Conductor - Grace Row, Producer - Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Composer - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer - J.A.C. Redford, Arranger, Orchestrator

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

8
L'Elisir d'Amore: Una furtiva lagrima (Arranged for Violin & Orchestra)
00:04:14

Joshua Bell, Arranger, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Violin - Michael Stern, Conductor - Grace Row, Producer - Gaetano Donizetti, Composer - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer - J.A.C. Redford, Arranger, Orchestrator

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

9
In trutina from Carmina Burana
00:02:32

Joshua Bell, Arranger, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Violin - Michael Stern, Conductor - Grace Row, Producer - Carl Orff, Composer - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer - J.A.C. Redford, Arranger, Orchestrator

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

10
Songs without Words, Op. 62, No. 1: May Breezes (Arranged for Violin & Orchestra)
00:02:14

Joshua Bell, Arranger, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Violin - Michael Stern, Conductor - Grace Row, Producer - Felix Mendelssohn, Composer - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer - J.A.C. Redford, Arranger, Orchestrator

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

11
Beau soir, L. 6 (Arranged for Violin and Piano by Jascha Heifetz)
00:02:28

Joshua Bell, Main Artist, Violin - Grace Row, Producer - Frederic Chiu, Piano - Claude Debussy, Composer - Jascha Heifetz, Arranger

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

12
Estrellita
00:03:12

Joshua Bell, Arranger, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Violin - Michael Stern, Conductor - Grace Row, Producer - Manuel Maria Ponce, Composer - Jascha Heifetz, Arranger - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer - J.A.C. Redford, Arranger, Orchestrator

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

13
Nana (Bercuese) from Siete conciones populares Espanolas
00:02:08

Joshua Bell, Arranger, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Violin - Michael Stern, Conductor - Grace Row, Producer - Manuel de Falla, Composer - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer - J.A.C. Redford, Arranger, Orchestrator

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

14
The Pearl Fishers, WD 13: Je crois entendre encore (Arr. for Violin & Orchestra)
00:03:26

Joshua Bell, Arranger, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Violin - Michael Stern, Conductor - Grace Row, Producer - Georges Bizet, Composer - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer - J.A.C. Redford, Arranger, Orchestrator

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

15
Morgen! Op. 27, No. 4
00:03:42

Joshua Bell, Arranger, Main Artist, Violin - Grace Row, Producer - Anna Netrebko, Soprano - Richard Strauss, Composer - Michael Stern, Conductor - J.A.C. Redford, Arranger, Orchestrator - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

16
Après un rêve, Op. 7, No. 1
00:02:55

Joshua Bell, Main Artist, Violin - Grace Row, Producer - Frederic Chiu, Piano - Gabriel Fauré, Composer

(P) 2006 Sony Music Entertainment

17
Laudate Dominum from Vesperae solennes de confessore for soloists, chorus & orchestra, K. 339 (Alternate Version)
00:04:00

Joshua Bell, Arranger, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Violin - Michael Stern, Conductor - Grace Row, Producer - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer - Orchestra of St. Luke's, Associated Performer - J.A.C. Redford, Arranger, Orchestrator

(P) 2006 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

Album Description

Following his 2003 crossover smash Romance of the Violin, wunderkind Joshua Bell and his sonically awesome 1713 Stradivarius (he clutches it closely like a nervous lover in the back cover photo, seemingly afraid it will desert him) pursues a related project with Voice of the Violin. Whereas Romance of the Violin drew on pieces originally written in a variety of media, Voice of the Violin shows Bell's ability to make his instrument "sing" in vocal pieces. As with the earlier album, Bell goes for a specific type of piece -- slow or moderate in tempo, with a passionate, wide-ranging melody that allows him to show off his rich, spacious sound on both the violin's bottom and top strings. There are orchestral and keyboard-accompanied songs, operatic arias, Rachmaninov's Vocalise, and sacred pieces, all but one heard here in new orchestral arrangements. Many of these are by film composer J.A.C. Redford, and they have a film-music quality -- they combine sentiment with a certain background-music feel, with low contrast from piece to piece. Bell doesn't program any fiery, fast-tempo music, generating variety instead through slow rises in intensity that culminate in a luscious performance of Debussy's song Beau soir (Beautiful Evening) accompanied by piano on track 11, and in the introduction of an actual voice, that of operatic soprano Anna Netrebko, on Richard Strauss' Morgen! (Tomorrow!), the final track. Bell alludes to the example of Heifetz and other violin stars who frequently performed arrangements, but Heifetz would never have played a program as homogeneous as this one. Bell appeals to a desire for surface sensuousness alone. But he executes his plan well, and anyone in need of a demonstration of his formidable talent should check out track 6, the "Laudate Dominum" aria from Mozart's Vesperae de Confessore, K. 339. This long, slow-unfolding melody is a challenge for singers in its vocal version; generating the breath to support it all the way through is quite a task. The high, quiet entrances and the subtle dynamics challenge the violinist equally severely, but Bell's performance is a model of control and resultant tranquility. For the car, for the commute, even for the romantic encounter, this disc has its uses. Those who would prefer to hear Bell in mainstream repertory may find it a bit limited in variety, but this rising megastar has certainly pulled off another flawless performance.
© TiVo

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