New CD release ‘Joshua Bell & The Academy of St Martin in the Fields’ (Photo credit: Sony Music Entertainment)
On June 22nd, 2018, Sony Classical will release a new album from Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell, showcasing two masterpieces from romantic composer Max Bruch. It is Bell’s first recording of the virtuosic Scottish Fantasy as well as a new recording of the Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, which he first recorded over thiry years ago with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Sir Neville Marriner. Bell is now the Music Director of the Academy, as he directs, performs, and offers a fresh take on the Bruch Concerto and a thrilling performance of the Scottish Fantasy.
The Scottish Fantasy has become one of Bell’s favorite performance pieces, with good reason: “My father’s family were from Scotland, and I grew up hearing stories about how my great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather fought in the Black Watch in Scotland. My dad was proud of his Scottish heritage, and this connection makes the melodies in Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy even more meaningful to me.” Reminiscent of Scottish folk songs, “It is one of the most beautiful and touching pieces I know, and so brilliantly orchestrated. It is a unique ‘concerto,’ not following the traditional three-movement form. Each of its four movements tells a story.”
Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 was the first major concerto Bell learned as an 11-year-old. “This piece is connected to so many memories!” Bell says that the great nineteenth-century violinist, Joseph Joachim, who figured prominently in Bell’s recent Sony Classical release, For the Love of Brahms, placed Bruch’s concerto in the same league as those of Beethoven, Brahms, and Mendelssohn, and called it “the most seductive of violin concertos.” Bell explains, “It is a huge audience favorite because it is so rich and lush. It has excitement, power, passion, and intimacy–it’s got everything!”
“Now after more than thirty years of performing this concerto and with a variety of conductors, I am still inspired by the work, and I continue to find myself exploring fresh ideas and new possibilities for expression. As Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, I now have the opportunity to conduct while playing the solo part and it actually brings a whole new dimension to this piece. The Academy has become my musical family over the past decade, and I feel we have special chemistry!”
Find the album here!
TITLE: SCOTTISH FANTASY
JOSHUA BELL, Violin and Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Orchestra
Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 46
1 I. Introduction: Grave, Adagio cantabile
2 II. Scherzo: Allegro
3 III. Andante sostenuto
4 IV. Finale: Allegro guerriero
Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
5 I. Vorspiel: Allegro moderato
6 II. Adagio
7 III. Finale: Allegro energico
The album was recorded September 8-9, 2017 at Air Studios in London.
Produced and Engineered by Adam Abeshouse
Edited, Mixed and Mastered by Adam Abeshouse
Executive Producer: Joshua Bell