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Barber, Walton: Violin Concertos / Bell, Zinman, Baltimore


Release Date: 03/11/1997 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 452851   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Samuel BarberErnest BlochSir William Walton
Performer:  Joshua Bell
Conductor:  David Zinman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This disc received the 1998 Gramophone Award for "Best Concerto Recording."

Joshua Bell's coupling of the Barber Violin Concerto with Walton and Bloch brings together three highly romantic concertante works. From an American perspective Walton can well be seen as Barber's British counterpart, not least in this concerto written for Heifetz with an American first performance in mind. As in Heifetz's original Cincinnati recording and Francescatti's later Philadelphia one, the playing of an American orchestra -- here the Baltimore Symphony -- is warmly idiomatic, defying the idea that non-British orchestras find Walton difficult. Joshua Bell links two twentieth-century violin concertos from two major figures on either
Read more side of the Atlantic, composers who weren't afraid of tapping a truly lyrical vein.

Bell gives a commanding account of the solo part, even matching Heifetz himself in the ease of his virtuosity. And in the Barber concerto the balance allows the triplets in the central scherzo to be delivered with quicksilver lightness, and I love the way that Bell treats the central cadenza of the first movement expansively, making it more deeply reflective.

Not just there but in many gentle moments the rapt intensity of his playing is magnetic. There are points which I still prefer in two earlier Decca versions - Kyung-Wha Chung's with Previn (5/73 - alas currently unavailable) and Tasmin Little's warmly expressive one with Andrew Litton. but Bell's is among the finest ever, with Bloch's own 1939 orchestration of Baal shem offering a fine, unusual makeweight.

-- Gramophone [7/1997]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin, Op. 14 by Samuel Barber
Performer:  Joshua Bell (Violin)
Conductor:  David Zinman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USA 
2.
Baal shem by Ernest Bloch
Performer:  Joshua Bell (Violin)
Conductor:  David Zinman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; USA 
Notes: Orchestrated: 1939 
3.
Concerto for Violin in B minor by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Joshua Bell (Violin)
Conductor:  David Zinman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938-1939; England 

Sound Samples

Concerto for Violin & Orchestra, Op.14: 1. Allegro
Concerto for Violin & Orchestra, Op.14: 2. Andante
Concerto for Violin & Orchestra, Op.14: 3. Presto in moto perpetuo
Baal Shem (Nigun): 1. Vidui (Contrition)
Baal Shem (Nigun): 2. Nigun (Improvisation)
Baal Shem (Nigun): 3. Simchas Torah (Rejoicing)
Concerto for Violin & Orchestra: 1. Andante tranquilo
Concerto for Violin & Orchestra: 2. Presto capriccioso alla napolitana
Concerto for Violin & Orchestra: 3. Vivace

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