The Joshua Bell concert was the highlight of my trip. I honestly did not expect to be so surprised by his musicality. I see soloists on YouTube all the time and I've seen him perform online before, but it's just not the same as being there in person. I liked how the concert started out with a new, more contemporary piece and then was contrasted with a nice-sounding, classical piece. The change in genres kept me on my toes but it was Joshua Bell's solo that amazed me. Mendelssohn's violin concerto is very popular and it's been very overplayed, so I honestly was just expecting the same "sound" from him as other professional musicians but he did not disappoint. It was a bit of a slow starter because everyone usually plays the beginning of the first movement the same way but it was the finale that stole the show.
For one, Joshua Bell's up-bow staccato was crazy! He hit his harmonics so smoothly I almost didn't catch it. His fourth finger vibrato was so good I could see his hand move from the third tier. He was able to keep his tone even and consistent EVEN at the frog, BUT the best part of it all was how he matched with the orchestra. There are some soloists that try to "do their thing" a little too hard and the end up completely astray from the orchestra accompanying them. Joshua Bell stood out with his crazy precise intonation and tone but also was LISTENING to the orchestra. Rather than just waiting for his entrance, we could tell he was getting into the orchestra's playing, vibing with them, so he could match up and adapt. It's this quality that makes him a humble player and also the performance amazing. Every time he synced up with the symphony I got goosebumps because of how self-aware he was musically. He nailed every part of his performance and I left feeling very satisfied with the concert.
By Julie Nguyen