At Home with Friends / Joshua Bell

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This is a disc that many strictly "classical" listeners may pass over--not surprisingly, since this isn't really a "classical" recording. However, its illustrious and very accomplished host deserves a chance to show another side (or sides, actually) of his musical life, one that includes informal collaboration in his New York home with artists from pop, jazz, and non-western classical genres--and so he offers this rather congenial hodge-podge that somehow goes together while juxtaposing extremely diverse styles and levels of artistic refinement.

Actually, when you hear the opening track--a fine light jazz treatment of I loves you Porgy, with Bell, pianist Billy Childs, a number of other instrumental players, and featuring jazz/pop trumpeter Chris Botti--you may just wish this group would take the whole program. But we move from Gershwin to Dowland via the voice of Sting, whose slightly strained, boyish quality is overshadowed by the lively obbligato/accompaniment of Bell's violin.

There are hits--bandoneon-ist Carel Kraayenhof and Bell in Piazzolla's Oblivion and Luis Bacalov's Il Postino; Bell, baritone Nathan Gunn, and pianist Jeremy Denk in Rachmaninov's song O, cease thy singing, maiden fair (with obbligato by Fritz Kreisler); Ravi Shankar's duet for sitar and violin, performed by daughter Anoushka and Bell; Bell and Marvin Hamlisch's rendition of I'll take Manhattan--and misses: pop singer Josh Groban's Cinema Paradiso (exactly what language is that...?); Kristin Chenoweth's unconvincing, uncomfortable My Funny Valentine (not her song); bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolinist Chris Thile's weirdly meandering Look Away. But hey, this is a hodge-podge meant to capture the spirit of Bell's "anything goes" house concerts--and in that it succeeds.

Of course, the recordings were not actually made in Bell's home--rather they were made in a couple of different studios, and you can tell. There's a decided artificiality to the balances due to some odd mixing and highlighting of certain instruments that do not seem to share the same acoustic space. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this, especially for Bell's clever, artful, and always appropriately stylish playing.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com


Product Description:


  • Catalog Number: 88697527162


  • UPC: 886975271627


  • Label: Sony


  • Composer: Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astor Piazzolla, Diane Warren, Edgar Meyer, Edvard Grieg, Ennio Morricone, George Gershwin, John Dowland, Luis Enriquez Bacalov, Paul McCartney, Ravi Shankar, Regina Spektor, Richard Rodgers, Sergei Rachmaninov, Traditional


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Tiempo Libre


  • Performer: Anoushka Shankar, Carel Kraayenhof, Chris Botti, Chris Thile, Dave Grusin, Edgar Meyer, Frankie Moreno, Josh Groban, Joshua Bell, Kristin Chenoweth, Marvin Hamlisch, Nathan Gunn, Regina Spektor, Sting



Works:


  1. Porgy and Bess: I loves you, Porgy

    Composer: George Gershwin

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin), Chris Botti (Trumpet)


  2. Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 17, Come againe, sweet love doth now envite

    Composer: John Dowland

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin), Sting (Voice)


  3. Enrico IV: Oblivion

    Composer: Astor Piazzolla

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin), Carel Kraayenhof (Bandoneón), Carel Kraayenhof (Bandoneon)


  4. Cinema Paradiso

    Composer: Ennio Morricone

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin), Josh Groban (Voice)


  5. Para Ti

    Composer: Traditional

    Ensemble: Tiempo Libre

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin)


  6. Babes in arms: My funny valentine

    Composer: Richard Rodgers

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin), Kristin Chenoweth (Voice)


  7. Maybe So

    Composer: Edgar Meyer

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin), Edgar Meyer (Bass)


  8. Sonata for Violin and Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 45: Allegretto

    Composer: Edvard Grieg

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin)


  9. Eleanor Rigby

    Composer: Paul McCartney

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin), Frankie Moreno (Voice), Frankie Moreno (Voice)


  10. Songs (6), Op. 4: no 4, Sing not to me, beautiful maiden

    Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin), Nathan Gunn (Baritone)


  11. Il Postino: Theme

    Composer: Luis Enriquez Bacalov

    Performer: Carel Kraayenhof (Bandoneón)


  12. Left Hand Song

    Composer: Regina Spektor

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin), Regina Spektor (Voice)


  13. Chovendo na roseira

    Composer: Antonio Carlos Jobim

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin), Dave Grusin (Piano), Edgar Meyer (Double Bass), Chris Thile (Mandolin)


  14. Look Away

    Composer: Diane Warren

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin), Anoushka Shankar (Sitar)


  15. Variant Moods

    Composer: Ravi Shankar

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin), Anoushka Shankar (Sitar)


  16. I'll Take Manhattan

    Composer: Richard Rodgers

    Performer: Joshua Bell (Violin), Marvin Hamlisch (Piano)