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Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto, Etc / Bell, Tilson Thomas


Release Date: 09/20/2005 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 94832   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Joshua Bell
Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 0 Hours 51 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.


New recordings of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto appear with such regularity these days that it's easy to take them for granted. After all, what can any new contender possibly do with this warhorse that hasn't already been done many times over? Well (leaving aside Anne Sophie Mutter's recent bizarro rendition on Deutsche Grammophon), there apparently are still undiscovered interpretive possibilities in this music, something made abundantly clear by Joshua Bell in this magnificent performance with Michael Tilson Thomas and the Berlin Philharmonic. Eschewing the usual macho bravura, and the less usual
Read more meditative torpor, Bell finds a third way--at first seemingly understated, but this is deceptive. Like the Jedi of Star Wars lore, Bell moves with cat-like grace--his entrance is all beauty and refinement, employing an achingly luscious tone. Then, when the music calls for it he strikes with stunning ferocity and bulls-eye accuracy, all the while maintaining his honeyed timbre.


That Bell has long contemplated this work is evident in his original and always convincing ideas about phrasing and rubato. The first movement unfolds naturally, moving fluidly from one section to the next, thanks in large part to Thomas' focused, spirited conducting, demonstrating his long-held flair for this composer. The same goes for the slow movement, here a poignant, serene interlude. Bell's finale is exciting, yet it's not just another one of those "look how fast I can play this" renditions. Again he finds new ways to express the old, spinning continuously gorgeous tone while he does it.


The Berlin Philharmonic is its usual hyper-polished self, though Thomas draws a welcome warmth and emotional commitment from the players. There's also surprising sonic warmth and depth for a production made in Berlin's Phiharmonie, especially on the disc's stereo SACD layer, although the filler items, recorded sans audience, boast a sharper, more spacious sound. Tchaikovsky's beautiful Méditation receives an exceptionally fine performance featuring some enchanting woodwind playing, while Bell simply dazzles in the tour-de-force Russian Dance from Swan Lake, leaving no doubt he's one hot fiddler! No matter how many other recordings you possess or may have heard, Bell's Tchaikovsky Concerto is a must. [10/25/2005]
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 35 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Joshua Bell (Violin)
Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
Venue:  Live  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 36 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Notes: Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany (01/27/2005 - 01/31/2005) 
2. Swan Lake, Op. 20: no 20c, Act 3 - Danse russe by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Joshua Bell (Violin)
Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875-1876; Russia 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Notes: Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany (01/27/2005 - 01/31/2005) 
3. Souvenir d'un lieu cher, Op. 42: no 1, Méditation by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Joshua Bell (Violin)
Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Russia 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 9 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Alexander Glazunov.
Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany (01/27/2005 - 01/31/2005) 

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