约夏‧贝尔 Joshua Bell (小提琴)
圣马丁学院管弦乐团 Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Label: Sony Classical
Composer: BACH, JOHANN SEBASTIAN
Award: Gramophone Editors Choice
An Unnecessary Bach Recital from Joshua Bell
Review by: Robert Levine
Artistic Quality: 6
Sound Quality: 9
This is Joshua Bell’s first recording of any of Bach’s music. As you might imagine, the playing is expert, for the most part, and Bell happily uses a very light touch, particularly in the outer movements of the overly familiar concertos. The final movement of the A minor is a wonderful dance, played at a nice clip and with jollity, and the first movement of the E major follows suit. His quick tempos do not allow for much vibrato in the fast movements, but he gives us plenty in the slow movements, where Romanticism seems to take over from the Baroque. Bell is precise and clean and plays lovingly. However, I can find nothing special in his readings to push, say, Zukerman (RCA) for the Romanticist or Manze (Harmonia Mundi) for the Baroque “purist” out of the way. But the program really takes a bad turn after the concertos with a performance of the Chaconne.
Using Mendelssohn’s arrangement, in which a piano accompanies the violin to fill in some of the harmonic “blanks” (I have always seen it as an intrusion), violinist/arranger Julian Milone has added a small complement of strings to the solo violin line. It is perfectly awful, softening the work and cushioning it in a pillow. Near the end, before the uptake of the opening tune one last time, Bell plays a few bars of the music solo, as it should be played, and we realize what a horror the arrangement is. Why bother?
The beautiful Air from the third suite is handsomely played, but does the planet need another recording of it? The disc ends with Robert Schumann’s arrangement, re-arranged again by Milone for string accompaniment, of the third Partita’s Gavotte en Rondeau. It sounds mushy. Bell is a great violinist. This is an unnecessary CD, and the Chaconne is almost a crime. Can you imagine turning a work of such exquisite angularity and asceticism into what used to be referred to as “elevator music”?
JOSHUA BELL – BACH
OCTOBER 1, 2014
Soloist: Joshua Bell
Joshua Bell brings the music of his beloved Bach vividly to life.
Bach is the second album released by Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, since Bell became the Academy’s Music Director in 2011. Bell performs Bach’s sublime Violin Concertos No. 1 and 2, along with a never-done-before ‘violin and orchestra’ arrangement of the famous Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 (adapted from Mendelssohn’s piano accompaniment), the Gavotte en Rondeau from Partita No. 3 for solo violin (using Schumann’s accompaniment), and the universally beloved ‘Air on the G string’. The album was placed at #2 in Classic FM’s Albums of the Year 2014.
“It’s been worth the wait: backed by his Academy of St Martin in the Fields chamber orchestra, [Bell] offers outstanding versions of the two violin concertos”
***** The Independent
Bell’s well-known love for the music of Bach dates back to his first appearance in front of an orchestra at age seven, yet this album also earns the distinction of being Bell’s first-ever Bach concertos recording. About the album, Bell said: “In the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, with many of its members having had vast experience playing with original instrument bands, I have found the perfect partner – an orchestra that, in my opinion, wonderfully balances an ‘authentic style’ with some of the beauties of ‘modern tradition’. It is because of my work with the Academy that I finally felt compelled to being to record the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.”
“…crisp and exciting readings of the Violin Concertos Nos 1 and 2, with Bell and the players in perfect accord.”
**** The Observer
Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, BWV 1041
2. II. Andante
3. III. Allegro assai
Violin Concerto No. 2 in E Major, BWV 1042
4. I. Allegro
5. II. Adagio
6. III. Allegro assai
7. V. Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004
8. II. Air from Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068
9. III. Gavotte en Rondeau from Partita for Violin Solo No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006