Listen to the Bell
At 45, Joshua Bell is no longer the boy wonder of classical violinists like he used to be, but he has kept busy with a fascinating and varied career that has included playing on the soundtrack for the film The Red Violin, taking part in a crossover album with Regina Spektor and Sting, and earning $32 as an anonymous busker in a train station as part of an experiment sponsored by the Washington Post. Recently he was named music director of the distinguished ensemble the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
You won’t be surprised to learn that he’ll be taking on Prokofiev’s Second Violin Sonata when he plays at Bass Hall on Monday, accompanied by pianist Sam Haywood. One of the glories of the instrument’s repertoire, this clever and incisive piece was originally composed for flute but then re-jiggered for the violin at the request of Prokofiev’s violin virtuoso friend David Oistrakh.
An odder item on the bill is Richard Strauss’ Violin Sonata, a piece by a composer more renowned for his operas and orchestral works. It’s nonetheless a rewarding and technically demanding work that can be thoroughly winning in the right hands.
Bell will also perform other pieces that will be announced from the stage. This veteran of the concert stage probably has a few surprises in store for us.