Joshua Bell's 'French Connection'

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Violinist Joshua Bell is all over WQXR this week, including our Showdown.

Tuesday evening, WQXR brought you Bell and pianist Jeremy Denk discussing and performing music from French Impressions, their new album of violin sonatas. French Impressions is also this week’s featured album.

In that same spirit, today’s Showdown offered the opportunity to hear Bell in one of three works for violin and orchestra with a French connection. Leading all morning with a little more than 50 perecnet was Camille Saint-Saens’ Violin Concerto No. 3. We played it at noon.

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Camille Saint-Saens: Violin Concerto No. 3

Ernest Chausson: Poeme, Op. 25

Edouard Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole

Comments [11]

Steve from Brooklyn

A true melodist with a unique voice, Ernest Chausson could well have developed into one of the greatest of French composers had it not been for his untimely death at age 44. He started out as a composer relatively late in life and wrote slowly. Poème is his only piece to have made it into the standard classical repertory, but there is much more worth hearing, including a symphony in the three movement style of Franck, an opera (Le Roi Arthus), and some wonderful chamber works, especially a piano quartet and the unique Concert, which, in essence, is a double concerto for piano and violin with string quartet rather than orchestra.

Jan. 11 2012 12:34 PM
Tom from Montclair

I vote for Saint-Saens Violin Concerto #3. It's quite beautiful, and has many different moods and excursions into areas of the violin I find refreshing.

Jan. 11 2012 11:45 AM
Mark from East Brunswick, NJ

I heard Joshua Bell play this at Tanglewood. I sat in the front row and it was an incredibly moving experience.

Jan. 11 2012 11:38 AM
ann hodgkins from NJ

Saint-Saens....can never hear enough.

Jan. 11 2012 11:37 AM

I also went with the one that I knew the least. So many of us like to hear new and not-so-familiar works! Encourage your audiences by not playing the well-known ones all the time.

Jan. 11 2012 11:36 AM
Kathryn from Piscataway, NJ

The Saint-Saens is gorgeous, and my husband's favorite violin concerto.

Jan. 11 2012 11:34 AM
Lee Lieberman from Fort Lee, NJ

I enjoyed the Tuesday interview of Denk and Bell. Their comments give perspective on their respect for their predecessors (artistically and their teachers). Bell's "subway experiment" shows how much we let get by us in life! I also loved his comments about his strad and its more recent history.

Jan. 11 2012 11:02 AM

The more people hear Chausson, the more of him they will want to hear.

Jan. 11 2012 11:01 AM
Don Foster from New York City

Of course, I would love to hear all three but I have chosen the one I know less well.

Jan. 11 2012 10:11 AM
Manon from Montreal Canada

I voted for Lalo... it's one of my favorite! One of the reason why I choose Joshua's Lalo Symphony as one of my favorite is simple... his version is with Montreal Symphony Orchestra! My town!!!

Jan. 11 2012 10:03 AM
Judith from Boston, MA

You like to make it difficult, don't you? Do I go with one of two favourites, in and of itself a difficult choice, or with the less familiar third? As is so often the case during showdowns, I would like you to play all three, however, knowing that you won't, I'm voting for Saint-Saens because I haven't heard it in a long time.

Jan. 11 2012 09:38 AM

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