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For the Love of Brahms - The new album of Joshua Bell, released during CD Review, on 3rd and 4th of October

Monday, 3 October 2016 , ora 11.15

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From our love for Brahms

This is the title of a recent L.P. that I can't wait to release for you, at Radio Romania Music. Bearing a great love for Brahms, the stars of this album are violinist Joshua Bell, cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Jeremy Denk. The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields followes the in this declaired love for Brahms, under the baton of the violonist. Joshua Bell says about this album: From our love for Brahms, Steven Isserlis and I have performed the Concerto for Violin and Cello many times over the years. That is why we have eventually wished to record it. And because we wished Jeremy Denk, another passionate over Brahs, was also there with us, we also performed the Piano Trio in B major, Op. 8.

The album undoubtedly focuses on Joshua Bell's personality.Winner of the 2014 Grammy Award for the praised Bach album, the American violinist is the the Music Director of the famous Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. The violinist is the first artist to hold the Music Director position of the chorus, after Sir Neville Marriner, the one who established the orchestra in 1958.

Joshua Bell recorded this album mostly sitting on his concertmaster chair, but he has also been the conductor of the orchestral backing parts.

The extremes of Brahms' creations

The album is an exploration of the Johannes Brahms' creation extremes, the juvenile Piano Trio in B major, Op. 8 next to the maturity proof, represented by the Double Concerto in A minor, Op. 102 for Violin, Cello and Orchestra. The two extremes are separated by the second part of the Violin Concerto in D Minor, WoO 23, written by Brahms' mentor, Robert Schumann. This is a recording that focuses on Joshua Bell during the seven bar-coda signed by Benjamin Britten and performed for the first time in 1958 as an elegy for the legendary English horn player Dennis Brain, who died in a tragic car crash accident.

The Piano Trio in B major, Op.8 ,with its passional declarations, considered by others hints of affection towards Clara Schumann, stares Joshua Bell and Steven Isserlis, to whom pianist Jeremy Denk linked on. The three artists have chosen the first version of this part, the less known one, composed by Brahms in 1854. Although the revised version of this work is the most performed one nowadays, Joshua Bell declaires that the original version is much more moving and dynamic.

Nevertheless, the main part of the album is the Double Concerto in A minor, Op. 102 for Violin, Cello and Orchestra. As Joshua Bell declaired, along with Steve Isserlis, in the las 30 years he performed several times this work and each time, the meeting with the mentioned part brought something more to their friendship. This is a famous work because it succeded in resuming the friendship between Brahms and the legendary violinist Joseph Joachim. Bell explains: Brahms was so connected to Joachim for so many years, but somewhere, toward the later part of their lives, their bond simply broke. Maybe Brahms thought that it was ridiculous to lose his friend, so he chose to dedicate him this concert, as a reconciliation act.

Bell and Isserlis, accompanied by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields are providing us with a friendly performance, a polite and respectful dialogue between two musicians with very successful careers. Bell and Isserlis rejoice over the fact that they met in the studio, that they create music together and last, but not least, that they perform Brahms pieces. And this is something you can really feel in every moment of their performace.

This is why I invite you to listen in premiere at CD Review, on 3rd and 4th of October at 12.5, the album For the Love of Brahms.

Gabriel Marica
Translated by Raluca Ilie
MTTLC, the University of Bucharest, 2nd Year