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Joshua Bell has chosen some of the most popular and enduring melodies for 'Voice Of the Violin'

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From the world of opera and song, Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell has chosen some of the most popular and enduring melodies ever written for his latest Sony Classical recording Voice of the Violin. Following the success of his best-selling Romance of the Violin which has been a fixture on the Billboard Classical charts for over two years this all-new collection presents Bell and his Stradivarius giving fresh "voice" to works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Bizet, Dvoř?k, Donizetti, Massenet and more, accompanied by Orchestra of St. Luke's, conducted by Michael Stern. Opera's hottest new star, soprano Anna Netrebko, joins the violinist for a performance of the Richard Strauss song "Morgen." Voice of the Violin will be released worldwide on September 5, 2006.

Bell's inspiration for Romance of the Violin one of the greatest successes in Bell's recording career was the opportunity to play beautiful classical melodies that violinists never get to perform. Voice of the Violin goes a step further, sampling the most memorable arias from opera and oratorio, as well as the classical song literature, for melodies that the violin in Bell's case, the legendary 1713 "Gibson ex Huberman" Stradivarius can "sing" most beautifully.

The selections on Voice of the Violin include such favorites as Schubert's "Ave Maria," Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise" and Tchaikovsky's "None But the Lonely Heart," as well as beloved arias by Mozart ("Laudate dominum" from Vesperae Solenne di Confessore); Bizet ("Je crois entendre encore" from Les Pecheurs de perles); Donizetti ("Una furtiva lagrima" from L'Elisir d'amore); Dvorak ("Song of the Moon" from Rusalka) and Orff ("In trutina" from Carmina Burana). From the song literature in addition to Strauss's Morgen" come favorites by Faur ("Aprus un rave"), Debussy ("Beau soir"), Falla ("Nana"), Mendelssohn ("May Breezes" from Songs Without Words) and Ponce ("Estrellita").

A star of the Metropolitan Opera as well as leading opera houses and concert stages all over the world, Netrebko will join Bell in a performance of the soulful Strauss song "Morgen," in the famous orchestral transcription that features a violin solo. Pianist Frederic Chiu, a friend and frequent colleague of Bell's, accompanies the violinist in a performance of Debussy's "Beau soir."

Arrangements for Voice of the Violin were created by J.A.C. Redford, the renowned American composer and orchestrator whose work in film and television has brought him a pair of Emmy nominations and five ASCAP Awards. His film credits include The Trip to Bountiful, Extremities and Oliver and Company. Redford has orchestrated, arranged or conducted for such Oscar-winning film composers as James Horner, Alan Menken and Rachel Portman. Two-time Grammy Award winner Grace Row is producing Voice of the Violin, and the recording is engineered by Charles Harbutt, also a two-time Grammy Award winner.

Bell's most recent recording for Sony Classical is his critically acclaimed Tchaikovsky disc, featuring a live recording of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the Berlin Philharmonic. He was also recently heard as soloist on the original soundtrack recordings of Ladies in Lavender and Dreamer: Inspired By A True Story.

Following its original release in the fall of 2003, Romance of the Violin hit No. 1 on Billboard's Traditional Classical chart and stayed there for 12 weeks, remaining in the top 10 for 50 weeks in a row. In December of that year, Romance of the Violin was named No. 1 Classical Album of the Year by Billboard, as Bell was cited as No. 1 Classical Artist of the Year. Early in 2005, the recording became one of the first titles to be released by Sony Classical as a DualDisc, and the pace of its sales made it one of the top-selling recordings of 2005.

A violinist of diverse musical interests and accomplishments, Joshua Bell is an exclusive Sony Classical artist. His critically acclaimed recordings for the label have ranged from core-classical works (concertos by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Sibelius and Goldmark) to new concert works written especially for him by such composers Edgar Meyer and Nicholas Maw, whose Violin Concerto, performed by Bell, captured the Grammy for Best Solo Performance With Orchestra. His imaginative new recordings of music from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and Bernstein's West Side Story have been best sellers, and he served as a soloist, advisor and creative partner in John Corigliano's Oscar-winning score for the hit film The Red Violin.