Thursday, October 1, 2009

Joshua Bell at Home With Friends ~ Album Review

I grew up admiring violinist Joshua Bell. I was an orchestra/violin geek and even had a poster of him on my wall. I was only about three years younger than the, now 41 year-old, virtuoso and so you can imagine the girl crazy conversations we would have - take a look.... he is very attractive! Some of you may remember when I took Henry to see Joshua Bell's rehearsal when he was in town playing with The Colorado Symphony. That was an experience he still talks about!

Thanks to the One2One Network, I was given the opportunity to review Joshua Bell's new album. Joshua Bell at home with friends is a fun change from the traditional classical violin repertoire that many people know him for. The album was inspired by informal gatherings among the many musical friendships made over the years - not surprisingly with some incredibly talented people. The album includes Sting, Josh Groban, Kristin Chenoweth, to name just a few. I imagine that these sessions reflect the sort of "parlor" music gatherings that we read about in music history.

It should not be surprising that collaboration with such a diverse set of musical personalities results in and eclectic album. The Eleanor Rigby track featuring Frankie Moreno is one of my favorites, along with the upbeat Para Ti featuring Tiempo Libre.

Ok, the total geek in me has to mention Zenph Re-performance. The Grieg Sonata track on this album has Joshua Bell essentially playing with Sergei Rachmaninoff, a dead composer/pianist. Got that? Yes, Rachmaninoff is dead and the piano track is a re-performance of his 1928 recording in Berlin. Enter Zenph Re-performance technology....

Zenph® Studios takes audio recordings and turns them back into live performances, precisely replicating what was originally recorded. The software-based process extracts every musical nuance of a recorded performance, and stores the data in a high-resolution digital file. These re-performance files contain the details of how every note in the composition was played, including pedal actions, volume, and articulations – all with millisecond timings.

Have you ever seen a player piano? I hate to simplify something so unbelievably fantastic that way, but you get the picture. This blows my mind. Essentially, if you can just invite Rachmaninoff or some other famous dead pianist into your home and have them accompany you! The critics would say that it isn't the same as a live performance because there is no give and take between the performers but I have to say that being able to recreate these performances to the degree that they can, so that you can hear them live and on modern instruments with modern recording equipment is pretty darn cool!

This album is perfect for a relaxing Sunday morning. You can listen to samples and purchase this album on itunes,, or at your favorite music retailer.
Album Tracklisting (Originally performed by):

I Loves You Porgy
featuring Chris Botti, trumpet
Come Again featuring Sting, vocals
Oblivion featuring Carel Kraayenhof, bandoneon
Cinema Paradiso featuring Josh Groban, vocals
Para Tí featuring Tiempo Libre, various
My Funny Valentine featuring Kristin Chenoweth, vocals
Maybe So featuring Edgar Meyer Sam Bush and Mike Marshall, strings
Grieg: Sonata No. 3 featuring Sergei Rachmaninoff (Zenph re-performance)
Eleanor Rigby featuring Frankie Moreno, piano & vocals
O, Cease Thy Maiden Fair featuring Nathan Gunn, baritone
Il Postino featuring Carel Kraayenhof, bandoneon
Left Hand Song featuring Regina Spektor, piano & vocals
Chovendo Na Roseira featuring Dave Grusin, piano
Look Away featuring Edgar Meyer, bass and Chris Thile, mandolin
Variant Moods: Duet for Sitar & Violin featuring Anoushka Shankar, sitar
I'll Take Manhattan featuring Marvin Hamlisch, piano


9 Responses to "Joshua Bell at Home With Friends ~ Album Review"
  1. Knit Purl Gurl said...
    October 3, 2009 at 2:39 PM

    Looks like an amazing album! Great review!

  2. ScrappinMichele said...
    October 3, 2009 at 2:43 PM

    You music geek you!!! You make me want to go download the album.

  3. Anonymous said...
    October 3, 2009 at 4:54 PM

    I love it when someone who would really know how to review an item does so!

  4. Heatherlyn said...
    October 3, 2009 at 4:55 PM

    I think it is great to be a true music geek! You have the luxury of enjoying wonderful music!

  5. Tabitha Blue said...
    October 3, 2009 at 6:14 PM

    Great review, sounds like a good mix!!



  6. Laoch of Chicago said...
    October 4, 2009 at 1:49 AM

    Joshua Bell is wonderful.

  7. Cheryl said...
    October 4, 2009 at 9:25 AM

    Great review! I am totally going to check him out! Thanks!

  8. Randi Troxell said...
    October 5, 2009 at 8:00 AM

    looks wonderful.. i'll check into this!

  9. Ann On and On... said...
    November 23, 2009 at 7:34 PM

    What a nice review! Thanks for sharing. It can be intimidating to find a good musician when you go in search of one.


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