Thanks to the quick-dialling Dayment, Viv and I attended the symphony this evening. In case that link evaporates, the program featured violinist Joshua Bell in front of a New York-based ensemble, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. There were four works performed. Bell’s featured piece was the violin concerto.

Sibelius: Suite from Pelleas et Melisande

Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor

Sofia Gubaidulina: Concordanza

Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1, Op. 25, “Classical”

I enjoyed all of them. The Gubaidulina was, strangely, a special treat. It’s a 1971 work, composed in Russia, and the dissonant bleeping and hissing and squawking is exactly the sonic employment of stage orchestral instrumentation that is sadly absent on the internet classical station we’ve been listening to. I have really missed hearing twentieth century orchestral stuff, especially late at night.

I got some good thinking done, as well, about a variety of subjects. Sadly, however, my right ear is utterly clogged with wax and let’s just say that the balance was off. Right now it hurts like hell, and I am a bit dizzy. I really need to make an appointment with the doctor to get it irrigated but I really do not have time until this weekend.

I should note here that Josh Bell came of age in Bloomington and I have memories of him being friends with people in my sister’s social circle. I believe that he and his family may have attended the same church that my family did, for a while at least. He did not attend the same schools as other kids his age in town. As I recall it, his family had moved to town in order to provide their gifted child with access to an important violin instructor, and Josh was engaged in studying with this maestro full time from pre-adolescence. My recollection, however, appears to be wrong, as Bell’s site notes that he was born in Bloomington.

I’m sure my mother will help fill in the details.

3 thoughts on “Bell

  1. Mike – from what I recall of the Josh Bell story, he went to Bton North for his public education, and was co-valdictorian of our class. It was a difficult feat given that he was traveling around the country performing with philharmonic this and that all the time, and was controversial as I recall. Who would complain, I don’t know. At the same time he was studying at IU with Gingold. I also went to a Bell concert a few years ago in NYC, and walked backstage afterwards to try and catch him. Like all of us, his recollection of the good old days was becoming suspect, but at any rate he invited me to a nice reception that was tons o’ fun.

  2. Scott! Nice to hear from you!

    You might be right about North, actually, but I don’t recall him from H. S.

    Now, my sister was a co-valedictorian (with Paul Dodd) of our class, and that was controversial because she had accelerated her high school career. I seem to remember that there was one other valedictorian – could that be Josh?

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