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.”
Roberto Esposito’s Piano Concerto No. 1, ‘Fantastico’ and his Piano Sonata No. 1 stem from his desire as a pianist and composer to engage with the major musical structures of 19th and 20th-century Classical and Romantic music. While drawing inspiration from the great composers of the past, in these two works he injects classical form with the musical idioms closest to his heart – those of jazz and the folk music of both his native southern Italy and the Mediterranean.
This volume released by AS Disc dedicated to Legenday Conductors, features Dimitri Mitropoulos and his soloist in both live venues is Myra Hess. He traveled from Paris to the US at the invitation of Serge Koussevitzky to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra and remained there fulfilling various commitments, leading the Minneapolis SO from 1937-1940 and at the same time was instrumental in the formation of the famous New York Philharmonic Orchestra where he was to remain as Director. It was there that Myra Hess, on one of her famous American Tours, met him and played under him.
Maurizio Pollini's 2011 concert recording of Johannes Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor is an important document because it not only captures his return to playing with the esteemed Staatskapelle Dresden (his first performance with the group since 1986), and his first collaboration with conductor Christian Thielemann, but it presents the very work the pianist played at his Staatskapelle debut in 1976. All of this background is helpful to know, to understand the significance Deutsche Grammophon attaches to this release, even at the risk of offering a CD that runs just over 45 minutes, without any filler for added value.