some Joshua Bell

by richibi

in my search for another violin concerto to follow up
on my suggested commitment for a while to that
instrument, to point out that concertos can go further
afield of course than the piano, and notably have, I
was able to find an Aladdin’s cave of musical wonders
but none to fit that specific bill

these other options however have been overwhelming,
once again for me irresistible, I’m a sucker, I’m afraid,
for excellence

for instance this astounding performance I’d temporarily
put aside for being a repetition, another interpretation
of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D major, done already
superbly here by the resplendent Anne-Sophie Mutter
with her inimitable mentor, Herbert von Karajan, no
less, among my previous recommendations

but this rendition by Joshua Bell, an American, who’d ‘a’
thunk it midst the profusion of Asian superstars, totally
transcends, he is precise, impassioned, is carried away
incandescently by his muse

we are too

Anne-Sophie Mutter who, we wonder, though only for a
moment, she is reliably transcendent, incandescent ever
too

his glissandos made me shiver, his rallentandos hold my
breath, his cadenzas, well, gasp in veritable wonder

a cadenza is what seems like an extended solo part near
the end of a movement where the soloist gets to strut
his, her stuff, it is often enough composed independently
of the composer, but I can only suppose that’s indeed the
case here for this cadenza not sounding especially
contemporary with Beethoven, for instance the strident
atonalities, long stresses on individual notes, defying
the usually strict conditions of that master’s nearly
religious adherence to tempo, rhythm

but it magisterially works, and therefore who cares

whether by Beethoven, Joshua Bell, or anyone else, I
don’t know, and am content to leave behind here such
esoterica

there is a bit of another cadenza near the end also of
the third movement

slow movements are not likely to have one for being
inappropriate, it would be bad form to show off at a
dirge

also von Karajan is not replaced, a conductor is simply
not there, and Joshua Bell seems an unlikely stand-in
for one here since he doesn’t even often look at the
orchestra, also he looks busy enough doing, wouldn’t
you think, other things

since the timpanist, the drummer, at the outset
gives the cue, a lovely of course Asian girl, she could
conceivably be setting the beat at least for her orchestra,
though often the first violin will take up the conductor’s
cause, when not the soloist, why else would one take a
bow, as they always do at concerts, but this one appears
unsubjected to so commanding a role

they open with some recalcitrance at first, as though
not quite sure of the engine, but soon things are humming,
the orchestra is in full swing, stunning, committed, soaring,
through giddy, infinitely miraculous, air

soon enough they also transcend

Joshua Bell earns himself meanwhile for his inspired part
in this splendid presentation an estimable place in my lofty
heaven, among the other poets, painters, asteroids and
stars shining there

Richard

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