- the acclaimed Bell who I'd heard about, including the busking in the Washington DC subway story
- "Appalachian Spring" because I like the piece and haven't ever heard a great recording of it
- "Pines of Rome" because I heard the name of the composer, Respighi, mentioned in an interview and turns out this is one of his famous pieces.
The heart of the concert, according to the program, was the "Concerto for Violin and Double Bass" composed by bassist Meyer with Bell in mind.
The evening opened with "Appalachian Spring". It was "wow" for me. Soft and soaring in all the right spots. The layering at the start of the strings and the winds was spot on. I've never heard it clearly before because recordings are always so quiet I have to turn up the volume and then when the dynamic changes and the tempo picks up it blows you away, and not in a good way. The balance live was perfect. Associate Principal clarinet Yao Guang Zhai seemed to have a good time with the solos and I love that the "Simple Gifts" melody appears in the clarinet first. In fact there were notable clarinet parts in every piece.
|Bell and Meyer during the concerto (TSO photo)|
Post intermission Joshua Bell got his solo chance to dazzle in "Tzigane, rapsodie de concert for Violin and Orchestra" by Ravel. Honestly all I know of Ravel is "Bolero". This was completely different and Bell demonstrated his very impressive skills elegantly.
Finally, "The Pines of Rome". Honestly I was expecting to recognize more. I've had the same