Joshua Bell's fresh approach to these violin warhorses makes for an unexpectedly inviting listening experience. In the Mendelssohn he marries his bright tone to forthright phrasing in a manner that communicates the music's emotion without sliding into the gooey sweetness heard in some interpretations. There's little if anything hackneyed about Bell's reading, indicating he's thought about the work anew, right through to the stylistically appropriate cadenza he composed himself (Bell cites research that suggests Mendelssohn's friend Ferdinand David may have actually composed the original cadenza). Roger Norrington's crisp, period-informed style, with its pointed accents and propulsive energy easily fits in with Bell's conception.
Though Bell was only 20 years old when some of these works were recorded, his playing is fresh and exciting, and his technique is nearly flawless. Bell plays these well-known Romantic melodies with a warm, beautiful sound and with natural (yet spontaneous) phrasing. Bell's intonation is quite good throughout (there are just a few sharp high notes), and the cadenzas and highly technical passages are pulled off with stunning virtuosity and grace. There is not a single moment where Bell sounds unsure of himself.
In der hochvirtuosen musikalischen Interpretation Annegret Siedels entsteht ein eindrucksvolles Bild der süddeutschen Virtuosenkultur. Reizvoll dabei die unterschiedlichen Charaktere der drei verwendeten zeitgenössischen Violinen, die sich aber alle gut mit der farbigen Continuo-besetzung aus Viola da gamba, Cembalo/Orgel, Harfe und Theorbe mischen. (Marc Strümper, Concerto 6/2004)
'Testament' is Rachel Barton Pine's very personal homage to the music of J. S. Bach, on which she performs the composer's complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin in the acoustic of her hometown St. Pauls Church in Chicago, where she first heard and fell in love with Bach's music.
Teodorico Pedrini is the only 18th century composer of which we know that he wrote European music in China, where he arrived after an eight year long journey from Italy to the Canary Island, Chile, Mexico, Peru and the Philippines. After his arrival in Beijing in 1711, he worked for the emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong until his death in 1746. Until today, he has been appreciated as one of the most important cultural ambassadors for Western music in Asia of all times.