Jochua Bell

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Struggling Beethoven, Boulez, Wonder, Ellington, and Barenboim From March 10 to March 24, 2008

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‘Gustavo Dudamel… Hum… Joshua Bell…’ on Feb 7, 2008

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Originally from Reith Lecture, Contemporary Music on April 10, 2006

Well… I am free. It’s now a break time!

It is perhaps your last article that hooked me. Then I stopped reading the New York Times until recently:He has long been praised for the radiant tone he draws from his Stradivarius. One only wishes that he were more adventurous. (August 18, 2005)”

It just hooked me, because whenever I saw this musician playing, my word has been the exactly same as this statement, ever since I watched a documentary film to portray his life as from a child protégé to an adult musician.

However, something is different.

If you wish that he were more adventurous about his ability to perform more of impressive violin concertos instead of Romantic warhorses, I wish that he were more adventurous about his ability to draw better sound from his instrument.

I don’t think anyone would mind, including himself, even if I mention his name in public. He knows nothing about this article. He didn’t even read it. If he/she reads you, understands you, and dares to follow you, he/she is not a professional musician.

It was in America, where I watched his docu film. Some would agree with me, who believes that he has received perhaps the best schooling as a pure American fiddler. (I am curious. Is his teacher still alive?)

What I also believe is that he should remember his mentor’s teaching wherever he goes, as long as the life allows him to touch his instrument. Not only remembering his technical teaching but also understanding his spiritual teaching.

Somehow, I hear that his adult performance lacks something. His performance in his youth sounds/looks more genuine than his adult playing. I mean… as an adult professional musician, he doesn’t sacrifice his everything into his instrument, despite the fact that he is still physically capable. Hence, the more he manages to create something on his instrument, the less he draws from his instrument.

Well… I didn’t listen to all his performances, but I don’t plan to. When I heard him years ago, twice indeed, the very basic was always same. He says in his docu film, as far as I remember, “The best word to describe my/one’s sound on my/his instrument is my voice.

I say, “For some instrumentalists, voice means something. But for some instrumentalists, voice means nothing.”

I don’t know which case he belongs to, but this is all I can say to his present playing. And I wish that he were more adventurous about his ability to draw better sound from his instrument.

You know… the contemporary music sounds more imaginative or mysterious when you hear it played by “real” sound. Because it deals with more various chords, melodies, rhythms, and so forth. I learned this fact while observing American students’ playing either German music or American music. Then I confirmed my thoughts while listening to Wunderlich singing the popular music.

But then, I hear that stupid voice from the 8 o’clock radio program and I hate the contemporary music more than ever. A contemporary music means plain stupid, ugly, sour, loudly lousy, headache… sic! A contemporary music also means impossible technique. Some say, fabulous technique.

Anyways, I just wish that he were more adventurous about his ability not only to draw better sound from his instrument, but also to perform more of impressive violin concertos instead of Romantic warhorses.

It was part of my next-next-?-story, but it doesn’t quite fit into the subject of that story. So I am writing it now.

To be continued…

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