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Outstanding Tanglewood - BSO opening night with Joshua Bell / MassLive

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Technically, Tanglewood has been open for three weeks so far this summer. But for classical music fans like myself, Friday night felt like opening night. That's because Friday was the first night this season the Boston Symphony Orchestra performed at this glorious gem nestled in the Berkshires. And without the BSO, there would be no Tanglewood since they created this performing arts center in the 1930s to serve as the orchestra's summer home. Friday's program included three, lesser-known pieces by three, well-known composers: Ravel's "Albordada del Gracioso," the Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 in B Flat, and the piece most people probably came to hear. The Saint-Saens' Violin Concerto No. 3. That's because the soloist for this work was famed violist Joshua Bell. 

Like Yo Yo Ma, Bell is one of those rare, talented classical musicians that many people seem to know, even if they don't listen to classical music. A former child prodigy, Bell's also a larger-than-life character. He drives a Maserati. He plays a Stradivarius. And even though he's 48 years old, he still looks boyish with his bushy hair cut and lively movements on stage. But none of that would really matter if Bell didn't consistently deliver outstanding performances. On Friday night, Bell did not disappoint his devoted fans. Right from the very first note, Bell sounded spectacular in this dramatic music that seems tailor made for being performed outdoors. At times, Bell's violin sounded like a bird soaring and fluttering through the air inside The Shed. Bell even seemed to conjure a welcome cool breeze during the subtle, second movement.

READ THE FULL MassLive ARTICLE

READ THE The Boston Musical Intelligencer REVIEW

READ THE Taunton Daily Gazette REVIEW