Romantic composer Max Bruch’s two masterpieces have inspired Scottish Fantasy, the new album from Grammy Award®-winning violinist Joshua Bell. Bell performs and directs the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in his first-ever recording of the virtuosic Scottish Fantasy and offers a fresh take on Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26 – the first concerto Bell recorded thirty years ago with the Academy conducted then by Sir Neville Marriner. The Scottish Fantasy has become a great favorite of Bell’s in the last decade. Bruch’s unique fantasia bristles with the snap and lilt of Scottish folksongs, and has been a favorite of violin virtuosos since its premiere. Though Scottish Fantasy is a newer addition to Bell’s repertoire, hisRead more affection for the piece runs deep. Bell calls Bruch’s Violin Concerto #1 “the most seductive of violin concertos,” saying “It’s a piece that audiences go crazy over because it’s so rich and lush, and it’s easy to grasp. It’s got excitement, power and passion.”
Bell, now in charge of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, proves a capable conductor as well as, when required, a sumptuous Romantic violinist. He is fully aware of the performance practices of the time in which these pieces were written, with plenty of portamento and the richest tone that an abandoned vibrato can produce.
– BBC Music Magazine
Technical finesse and interpretive confidence remain salient features of Bell's music-making, although he's greatly expanded his expressive arsenal. There's more than a dash of the gypsy soulfulness and spice in the opening to the concerto. His tone fairly throbs with vibrato, ornately embroidered with portamento. His rubato feels natural and authoritative throughout the Scottish Fantasy, with its fancifully discursive solo part.
Musically spellbinding, sound quality excellentJanuary 4, 2019By Cal K. (Calhoun, GA)See All My Reviews"I have been somewhat of an audiophile for about 40 years. I ordered this recording based on a review read in The Absolute Sound, and audiophile magazine, to which I have subscribed for most of my adult life. The music and the recording are among the very best I have ever heard... stunning. A couple of listening buddies agree with me. It is unfortunate that the copy I received of this recording had a flaw, at about 7 minutes into the first band. There was a skip and a loud thump, and the rest of the recording played perfectly. I emailed the seller about this, asking for a return authorization and an exchange. I was told that one would be issued. It's been about a month and there has been no return auth, or credit. I am quite disappointed with this problem "resolution". I ordered another copy from a different online seller and received it in a couple of days. I hope Arkiv can make their quality complaint resolution process more reliable. Arkiv is obviously dedicated to the fine arts. Not being able to get a replacement for a defective recording, does not "fit" with my appreciation of the services they provide. Cal Kaschub"Report Abuse
Beautiful, emotion filled recordingJuly 31, 2018By Robert G. (Bayfield, CO)See All My Reviews"I was not familiar with this piece but decided to give it a try. Needless to say I was not at all disappointed, I actually felt quite emotional at some of the passages-why? I can't really say, but it happens each time I listen. The recording itself is beautifully done so for me, a win/win all around."Report Abuse
Three pluses July 31, 2018By John R. (Saint Johnsbury, VT)See All My Reviews"Max Bruch, Joshua Bell and The Academy of St. Martin in the fields, Put these three together and you have a performance of a lifetime. Sony did a fabulous job of recording and Joshua is the best! The ASMF never fails to provide a performance that is "noteworthy" in every regard."Report Abuse