Joshua Bell: Romancer of the Violin

Classic FM's Jane Jones appraises this collection of the simplest and most heartfelt melodies from violin star, Joshua Bell

Composer:  Various
Repertoire: Violin Pieces
Artists: Joshua Bell (violin), Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Michael Stern
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Instrumental
Label: Sony Classical SK 87894

Josh Bell’s got everything going for him. Cover boy looks, an acclaimed career, international stardom and now he’s decided to have all the best tunes too. This collection will guarantee his place among an audience who may have been intimidated by his full works recordings, however broad their appeal. Not one of the 13 selections is a violin composition, yet Bell suggests that he’s only following in the best traditions of Bach, Mozart and Kreisler who would happily arrange works for any number of different instruments and star performers. He’s chosen well. Lingering lovely themes are perfectly suited to his lyrical warmth, which is perhaps why the songs and arias work especially well, with Casta Diva and Massenet’s Elegie quite outstanding. No flash virtuosics here, instead thoughtful, beautiful playing, only sometimes marred by messy over-production which clouds Joshua’s presence.