A new Sony Classical release from Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell showcases two masterpieces from romantic composer Max Bruch. The album features Bell’s first recording of the virtuosic Scottish Fantasy as well as a new recording of the Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, which he first recorded over thirty years ago with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Sir Neville Marriner. Now, as Music Director of the Academy, Bell both performs and directs the orchestra and offers a fresh take on the Bruch Concerto in addition to a thrilling performance of the Scottish Fantasy. In recent years, the Scottish Fantasy has become a favourite performance piece for Bell and his affection for the piece runs deep and with good reason: “My father’s descendants were from Scotland, and I grew up hearing stories about how my great- grandfather and great-great-grandfather fought in the Black Watch in Scotland. My dad was proud of his Scottish heritage, and this connection makes the melodies in Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy even more meaningful to me.”
Early in 2012 guitarist Diego Prato formed his first original project, consisting of a trio with bass (Arron Bell) and drums (Joe Luckin). His background includes jazz, funk, Latin, soul and hip hop music. These elements are all important influences, shared by all members, in a sound that is jazz-based but that has an interest in, and a vision towards, the contemporary. This is expressed in a series of original compositions as well as interpretations of standards and songs that range from John Coltrane to John Scofield to Curtis Mayfield.
Modern day recognition of the music of Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739) has been totally eclipsed by the music of Antonio Vivaldi (1675-1741). If one looks back at Marcello's popularity in the first half of the 18th century in Venetian Music, you will find that he was considered to be one of the musical glories of Italy on a par with Palestrina and Pergolesi, and was referred to as the 'Noble Venetian'. He was admired for his skillful counterpoint, his masterly attention to the words of the text he set and the noble simplicity of his melodies. All of these attributes are present in this lovely and entertaining Requiem.