There is something about the sound of a violin that pulls directly from the soul. For me, it is the same type of feeling when I hear a well-played saxophone. The violin, an ancient instrument crafted in Europe sometime in during the sixteenth century, must have been something magical. Its charms are seemingly derived from inside the musician rather than the bowed string instrument itself. Nevertheless, the violin is one of those perfect instruments that hold considerable musical powers.
Over the centuries, there have been champions of the violin. Bach was one. Hadyn, and Mozart another. Paganini too. From a more contemporary place, there is Vanessa-Mae, another child prodigy in David Garrett, and, one of my favorites, Joshua Bell. (Garrett’s bio is equally as impressive as Bell’s!)
Joshua Bell, whose violin is a 300-year old Stradivarius classic, began playing at the age of four. By fourteen, he was a soloist. At seventeen, he played Carnegie Hall. Needless to say, Joshua Bell is a master of the instrument, able to draw his soul out to speak through the strings.
Joshua Bell has released many career albums of performances over his young lifetime. His last, Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 7, Academy of St Martin In The Fields, was released earlier this year (2013) via Sony Masterworks.
On October 15, Sony Masterworks will release a Holiday album by Joshua Bell that will feature an all-star cross-over cast. The new album is called Musical Gifts and is slated to have guests artists like Chick Corea, Straight No Chaser, Alison Krauss, Placido Domingo, Gloria Estefan, Branford Marsalis, and others.
Being not only a fan of Joshua Bell, but also an avid fan of the violin, I anxiously await to hear how Joshua Bell will be able to reimagine holiday music.