Article updated August 10, 2018 by Dave Read
Joshua Bell resembled an athlete who knows he’ll soon be sent into the game during the opening moments of the Wienawski Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, the feature selection of the Aug. 5, 2018 program in the Koussevitsky Music Shed at Tanglewood, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dima Slobodeniouk. He swayed gently side to side, with shallow knee bends – not warming up or stretching, just keeping loose, staying calm, then, on cue, he fairly exploded into action.
There is a wonderful contrast between what you see and what you hear – Bell never looks frantic or frenetic, all his gestures and bends and twists are neat and balanced, betraying the work of bone, sinew, and muscle. What the ear perceives, however, is not rooted in anatomy, emerges not from the realm of the empirical but from the metaphysical house of beauty.
Dima Slobodeniouk conducts Borodin, Wieniawski and Prokofiev featuring Joshua Bell
Encores are rare in the classical music world, and the Tanglewood audience almost always rises with a rousing ovation and shouts of “Bravo!” that bring about one or two “curtain calls” when the soloist and conductor return the compliment. Today, there was an encore – Mr. Bell nearly immolated his burnished fiddle playing a selection from The Red Violin by John Corigliano, from the eponymous movie.
The concert opened with Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from “Prince Igor,” a splendid number sure to sound familiar to even the short-haired low-brows in the audience, because of its prominence on those late night TV ads for monster hits from the classical repertoire.
Sunday, Aug. 5, 2:30 p.m. Koussevitsky Music Shed
- Boston Symphony Orchestra
- Dima Slobodeniouk, conductor
- Joshua Bell, violin
- BORODIN Polovtsian Dances
- WIENIAWSKI Violin Concerto No. 2
- PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 5
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2018 Tanglewood schedule
The 2018 Tanglewood schedulefeatures a season-long celebration of the centennial of Leonard’s Bernstein’s birth, culminating in the Aug. 25 Bernstein Centennial Celebration hosted by Audra McDonald, with Maestro Andris Nelsons, four guest conductors and soloists Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, and others.