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“The Red Violin” In Concert

“The Red Violin” in Concert


(En Press Music damos la bienvenida a nuestra corresponsal en Nueva York, Laura Jobin-Acosta. Ella será la encargada de explicar qué ocurre en una de las ciudades más apasionantes del planeta en relación a la música clásica y contemporánea.) 

The New York Philharmonic, in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the release of The Red Violin, screened the film with a live performance of the score. The concert featured violinist Joshua Bell, who was also the original soloist in the movie soundtrack.

The Red Violin (1998) follows the fascinating journey of an unusual violin over the span of centuries. As movie critic Roger Ebert puts it “There really is a little something here for everyone: music and culture, politics and passion, crime and intrigue – and more.”

Conducted by Michael Stern, the Oscar-winning score was done great justice. Highlights include the superior intonation of the mostly female violin section, and the satisfying grandiosity of the sound of the full orchestra, though at times one might have hoped to hear more from the full ensemble.

The score served the film well. The music was interesting yet not overwhelming. The same could be summarized about the live performance. Because it was live, the thematic melody was highlighted and essentially became it’s own character. Bell’s visible passion contributed to the storyline and brought light to intricacies within the score that we may not have noticed otherwise. The melody, with a longing, mystic quality, was other worldly- yet it transcended among the centuries in a very gratifying way. What resulted was clarity, consistency, and intrigue.

Bell’s performance showed a range of qualities from velvet delicacy to bold agility. His visible passion and energetic movement contributed to an exciting evening. At first it was difficult to hear him playing, but we always knew when he was. The volume seemed to improve over the course of the night. His presence was engaging for the audience. Some of the more impressive passages ignited cheers and applause mid-film. He took in our appreciation with grace and gave the impression that he doesn’t view himself as a star, which was a breath of fresh air in a musical world that doesn’t always come off as familiar.

Overall, it was not quite like a regular movie night. People seemed to be caught between the feelings of attending a screening at the movie theater and a live classical concert. So, when people did loosen up and laugh together, it was a welcome release.

Bell and the New York Philharmonic will be performing The Red Violin for one more night on October 20th. It’s worth the experience to gather a new perspective on live performance and film scoring, as well as a night of fun in New York City.

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