- Released: June 11, 2002
- Label: Sony
- 1.Mendelssohn: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E Minor, Op. 64: Allegro molto appassionato
- 2.Mendelssohn: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E Minor, Op. 64: Andante
- 3.Mendelssohn: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E Minor, Op. 64: Allegretto non troppo - Allegro molto vivace
- 4.Beethoven: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Op. 61: Allegro ma non troppo
- 5.Beethoven: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Op. 61: Larghetto
- 6.Beethoven: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Op. 61:
Joshua Bell's first recordings of these warhorses stand apart from the hundreds of versions crowding the catalogs in at least one respect, namely his own cadenzas. Beethoven didn't supply his own for the long first movement of his Violin Concerto, and Bell's thoughtful, stylish emendation easily stands with the frequently played Kreisler and Joachim cadenzas as a viable option. His extroverted yet well-proportioned cadenza in the Mendelssohn may not match the original's instant melodic appeal, but it certainly works. Elsewhere, Bell's direct, clean-cut, utterly dependable virtuosity will not surprise his legions of fans, who won't mind that the violin tends to dominate in the mix. Is that due to the engineering, or to Roger Norrington's somewhat reticent accompaniments? You'd think a chamber orchestra would help the Mendelssohn's bubbling woodwind licks emerge with greater clarity. Likewise, small forces are capable of richer, more tonally varied, and sustained string tone in the Beethoven's slow movement, as one hears in the more confrontational and interesting Richard Kapp-Mela Tenenbaum collaboration. --Jed Distler
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