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Nobel Prize Concert 2010

Beethoven: Leonore Overture
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D major
Sibelius: Symphony No. 5

Joshua Bell

Royal Stockholm Philharmonic/Sakari Oramo

Accentus Music DVD ACC20215

This DVD gives the viewer a chance to experience the musical buzz which is normally only conveyed during live performances.

The tension of the orchestra, every player's attention honed to becoming part of each masterpiece, is artfully captured, and, most interestingly, the expressions and gestures of the conductor Sakari Oramo gives a the viewer unique insight to the creative process, whilst bringing his vision of these works to life.

Highlights are close ups of orchestral soloists - in particular the stunning bassoon solo during the opening of the Sibelius.

As one would expect at a ‘Nobel’ concert the playing is top notch. Joshua Bell dazzles, easily navigating the virtuosic passages, although the physical exertion this requires can be seen through beads of sweat- Bell really is giving his all.

My only criticism is precisely this - every note is beautiful (the occasional note which is not quite on pitch is only to be expected in a live performance); sometimes I would like to hear more grit and depth to his tone rather than just luminosity (especially in the first movement).

That said, Bell does a superb job of painting different colours and tailoring phrasing to perfection. It is good to hear he is a believer in 19th century performance practice and not afraid to use portamenti to expressive effect.

An added bonus is the addition of interviews with the performers. In particular the viewer is lucky enough to hear the story behind Bell’s violin - the so called ‘Huberman Strad’ - along with some close up shots of this famed instrument. A treat for all violin enthusiasts.

Anna Michel