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Joshua Bell - Tchaikovsky VC@Davies Symphony Hall / San Francisco Classical Voice

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Joshua Bell wowed audience and orchestra members alike with his performances of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto this weekend. The packed Davies Symphony Hall could be heard breathing a collective sigh of amazement as he finished a flawless and captivating first movement cadenza. Violinists on stage could be seen shaking their head in awe tinged with bewilderment.  To hear a musician of Bell's caliber can be as humbling as it can be inspiring.

Bell was virtuosic as ever, with his signature, confident stage presence and sweet tone in all registers. The clean accuracy with which he hit the high notes and harmonics in the highest register was just stunning. Though performed every single year, the Tchaikovsky concerto was vitalized and passionate, and Maestro Pablo Heras-Casado and the San Francisco Symphony responded with equal vigor. Bell was sporting a black vest over a skin-tight plum-colored shirt, which was soaked to the elbows with perspiration by the end.  Apparently, he gave it all he had that Friday night, returning for the fourth and fifth curtain calls without his instrument despite audience pleas for an encore.  READ THE FULL San Francisco Classical Voice REVIEW