Violin Concerto No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 61
Allegro non troppo
Andantino quasi allegretto
Molto moderato e maestoso – Allegro non troppo
Symphony No. 3 in D Minor
Mehr langsam, Misterioso
Adagio, bewegt, quasi Andante
Scherzo. Ziemlich schnell – Trio. Gleiches Zeitmaß
With a career spanning more than thirty years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, conductor and director, Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. His curiosity and clarity of insight are a testament to his belief in the power of music as a unifying cultural force. An artist of precision and passion, Bell is committed to the violin as an instrument of expression and a vehicle for realizing the new and unexplored.
Having performed with every major orchestra in the world on six continents, Bell continues to maintain engagements as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. Since 2011, Bell has served as Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, succeeding Sir Neville Marriner, who formed the orchestra in 1958. Bell’s multifaceted interests range from performing the repertoire’s hallmarks to recording commissioned works, including Nicholas Maw’s Violin Concerto, for which Bell received a Grammy® award. He has also premiered works of John Corigliano, Edgar Meyer, Jay Greenberg, and Behzad Ranjbaran, continually exploring the boundaries of the repertoire and the instrument.
As an exclusive Sony Classical artist, Bell has recorded more than 40 albums garnering Grammy®, Mercury®, Gramophone and ECHO Klassik awards. Sony Classical’s most recent release in June 2018, with Bell and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, features Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy and G minor Violin Concerto. Bell’s previous release, For the Love of Brahms in 2016, includes 19th-century repertoire with the Academy, Steven Isserlis, and Jeremy Denk. Bell’s 2013 release with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, featured him conducting Beethoven’s Fourth and Seventh symphonies and debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts.
In 2007, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post story, centered on Bell performing incognito in a Washington, D.C. metro station, sparked an ongoing conversation regarding artistic reception and context. The feature inspired Kathy Stinson’s 2013 children’s book, The Man With The Violin, and a newly-commissioned animated film, with music by Academy Award-winning composer Anne Dudley. Stinson’s subsequent 2017 book, Dance With The Violin, illustrated by Dušan Petričić, offers a glimpse into one of Bell’s competition experiences at age 12. Bell debuted The Man With The Violin festival at the Kennedy Center in 2017, and, in March 2019, presents a Man With The Violin festival and family concert with the Seattle Symphony.
Bell advocates for music as an essential educational tool, as both a way for classical music to find diverse audiences, and also to deepen his audience’s connection to the art. He maintains active involvement with Education Through Music and Turnaround Arts, which provide instruments and arts education to children who may not otherwise be able to experience classical music firsthand. In 2014, Bell mentored and performed alongside National YoungArts Foundation string musicians in an HBO Family Documentary special, “Joshua Bell: A YoungArts Masterclass.” Bell continues to work alongside young talent to foster the next generation of classical music ambassadors, and currently serves as senior lecturer at his alma mater, the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Bell began the violin at the age of four, and at age twelve, began studies with his mentor, Josef Gingold. At age 14, Bell debuted with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and made his Carnegie Hall debut at age 17 with the St. Louis Symphony. At age 18, Bell signed with his first label, London Decca, and received the Avery Fisher Career Grant. In the years following, Bell has been named 2010 “Instrumentalist of the Year” by Musical America, a 2007 “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum, nominated for five Grammy® awards, and received the 2007 Avery Fisher Prize. He has also received the 2003 Indiana Governorʼs Arts Award and a Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 1991 from the Jacobs School of Music. In 2000, he was named an “Indiana Living Legend” and one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful.”
Bell performs on the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius violin, with a François Tourte 18th-Century bow.
Christoph Eschenbach is a phenomenon amongst the top league of international conductors. Universally acclaimed as both a conductor and pianist, he belongs firmly to the German intellectual line of tradition, yet he combines this with a rare emotional intensity, producing performances revered by concert-goers worldwide. Renowned for the breadth of his repertoire and the depth of his interpretations, he has held directorships with many leading orchestras and gained the highest musical honours.
In exploring the conditions that led to the emergence of such a charismatic talent, we can look to his early years – born at the heart of a tempestuous, war-torn Europe in 1940, his early childhood was scarred by a succession of personal tragedies. It can truly be said that music was his saviour, and his life began to change when he learned the piano. Now, at the age of 78, his keen artistic curiosity is undiminished, and he still thoroughly enjoys working with the finest international orchestras. He is also well-known as a tireless supporter of young talent – this is his greatest passion, and he values his contribution to mentoring up-and-coming talent over and above his own distinguished career. Moved by the energy and the drive of young people – „Those one hundred percent artists“, as he calls them – he has a personal mission to pass the torch to the next generation. His discoveries to date include the pianist Lang Lang, the violinist Julia Fischer and the cellists Leonard Elschenbroich and Daniel Müller-Schott. As Artistic Advisor and lecturer at the famous Kronberg Academy, he accompanies young violinists, cellists and violists on their way to become world class soloists. In short, Christoph Eschenbach continues to explore new horizons and from September 2019 he will be the new Musical Director of the Konzerthausorchester, Berlin.
Christoph Eschenbach (born February 20, 1940 in Wroclaw) was a war orphan, raised in Schleswig-Holstein and Aachen by his motherʼs cousin, the pianist Wallydore Eschenbach. Her lessons laid the foundation of his illustrious musical career. Following his studies with Eliza Hansen (piano) and Wilhelm Brückner-Rüggeberg (conducting), he won notable piano awards – such as the ARD Competition Munich 1962 and the Concours Clara Haskil 1965 – that helped to pave the way for his growing international fame.
Supported by mentors such as George Szell and Herbert von Karajan, the focus of Christoph Eschenbachʼs career increasingly moved to conducting: He was Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Tonhalle Orchestra, Zurich from 1982 to 1986, Musical Director of Houston Symphony from 1988 to 1999, Artistic Director of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival from 1999 to 2002, Musical Director of the NDR Symphony Orchestra from 1998 to 2004, the Philadelphia Orchestra from 2003 to 2008 and the Orchestre de Paris from 2000 to 2010. From 2010 to 2017, Eschenbach held the position of Musical Director of the Washington National Symphony Orchestra. Alongside his prestigious appointments, Eschenbach has always attached great importance to his extensive activities as a guest conductor, working with orchestras such as the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the New York Philharmonic, Scala Milano, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo.
Over the course of five decades, Christoph Eschenbach has built an impressive discography, both as a conductor and a pianist, with a repertoire ranging from J. S. Bach to contemporary music. Many of his recordings have gained benchmark status and have received numerous awards, including the German Record Criticsʼ Prize, the MIDEM Classical Award and a Grammy Award. For many years, Eschenbachʼs preferred Lied partner has been the baritone Matthias Goerne. In recordings and in live performances, e.g. at the Salzburg Festival, the two perfectly matched artists have explored the rich treasures of the German Romantic period, from Schubert to Brahms.
Christoph Eschenbach has been awarded the Chevalier de la Légion dʼHonneur, and is a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres; he is a holder of the German Federal Cross of Merit and a winner of the Leonard Bernstein Award. In 2015, he received the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, known as „The Nobel Prize of music“, for his achievements as conductor and pianist.
Camille Saint-Saëns dedicated his Violin Concerto No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 61 (1880) to the Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate (1844–1908), who assisted the composer with writing the solo part and was certainly largely responsible for the work’s enduring popularity with performers and audiences. The concerto is notable for its wonderfully inspired melodies, and it lets soloists display tender cantabile playing as well as brilliant technique in difficult passages that matched Sarasate’s Spanish temperament. The three-movement concerto lacks the usual solo cadenzas at the ends of movements, but there is a cadenza-like slow introduction to the finale. Before the concerto ends, a melody reminiscent of a chorale appears, played first by the strings, which are then joined by the brass. The solo violin part interrupts this serious moment with a dance-like tune, and the concerto ends jubilantly in B major. Saint-Saëns’ comment that Sarasate spread his concerto all around the world was no exaggeration. Pablo de Sarasate gave the concerto its premiere on 15 October 1880 with the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Adolf Georg Beer, then on 2 January 1881 he performed the work in Paris under the baton of Édouard Colonne. The concerto soon became a part of the repertoire of other famous violinists.
It is unclear when Anton Bruckner began composing his Symphony No. 3 in D Minor. The second movement was the first to be written, apparently in the autumn of 1872. The first movement was finished the following spring, and the following phases of work on the symphony probably overlap. Bruckner dated the symphony’s completion to 31 December 1873. He asked the Vienna Philharmonic to give the work its premiere, but it was rejected twice. He revised the work over the next four years, then in September 1877 the conductor Johann Herbeck intervened and set the date for the symphony’s premiere as 16 December 1877. This, however, did not prove to be a fortunate turn of events for the symphony. Herbeck died on 28 October 1877, and Bruckner decided to conduct the work’s premiere himself. It may be assumed that even if the orchestra did not actually sabotage Bruckner’s performance, its attitude was at least unsympathetic. The excessive length of the December concert surely also played a role. Bruckner’s new work was last on the programme, and its novelty and length were too much for the public, which abandoned the hall in droves. There were a few positive comments in the reviews, but the feared critic Eduard Hanslick, for example, wrote that he wished to cause no pain to Bruckner, a respected man and artist, but that he could not understand the gigantic symphony. Bruckner later subjected the work to further revisions. The final (third) version is dated 1889, and it was premiered on 21 December of that year by the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Hans Richter. The first version was not performed until 1 December 1946 inDresden with Josef Keilberth conducting.
Bruckner’s symphonic thinking was based on structural models inspired by late Beethoven. His harmonies, handling of melodic material, and orchestration reveal his knowledge of Richard Wagner’s music. He builds a sonata movement from a motivic core that is modified, developed, and recapitulated in the course of the composition. One such core idea is the little fanfare motif of the first movement, which reappears at the beginning of the finale and in its coda. In the slow movement, Bruckner works with three thematic groups. The scherzo surprises listeners with its unconventional harmonic progressions and energetic rhythms, while figurations and rhythmic ostinatos serve as unifying elements. The finale is written in a modified sonata form, and in it Bruckner daringly combines a chorale theme in the winds with the stylised rhythm of the polka.
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