Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Josh Bell/NY Phil

I'm back in NY, since Thursday the 12th. Kath, my "quasi-sister" (I used to love with her family) and I went to the NY Phil Thursday night. Josh Bell played the "Red Violin Concerto" by Corigliano, and the second half was the R. Strauss "Alpine Symphony." The excellent youngish conductor Jonathan Nott conducted. Josh Bell played fantastically--I've never heard him be anything but fantastic. The Corigliano work, which developed from his film score for "The Red Violin," was genuinely enjoyable, and a great example of how new music can be accessible, imaginative, and engaging and exciting for an audience.

The concert was almost sold out. We ended up with third-row seats on the (audience) right aisle. We were essentially sitting in the back of the viola section. Since I've spent so much time sitting in orchestras, I kind of enjoyed this spot--rather what I'm used to. We were able to see Josh part of the time (sometimes he was obstructed by the conductor).

Josh Bell is 38 or 39, but looks like he is in his late twenties. Does he take some sort of potion? Is there an aging portrait hidden in a closet? And he's so irritatingly skinny (at least to a man like me, whose figure, were I a woman, would prompt inquiries as to when the baby is due)! He wore rather tight black jeans (I think they were jeans) and a long-sleeved, untucked, black shirt open at the collar. Very hip. I thought it was a great look.

As classical music struggles to remain/become relevant, the white-tie-and-tales thing needs to go. A hundred years ago, people wore that sort of thing in real life. Now it looks artifical and anachronistic. And the sort of thing that says to younger people, "this music is formal, boring, stuffy, and not for you." So good for Josh. I may try something like it for my next recital.


Anonymous said...


Go for the black jeans hip look. I think we all should.

Josh Bell is aging. I promise. It's just that when I heard him, at 20 or so, he looked 16. Figure he's maturation-delayed or something!


caprice said...

Sorry, but I disagree on almost everything. Even his outfit: http://capriceglob.blogspot.com/2006/01/catching-up-ny-philharmonic-and.html

I guess I'm just an old fuddy-duddy.