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Joshua Bell and Sam Haywood play Spivey Hall / ArtsATL review

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Last Sunday afternoon Joshua Bell and pianist Sam Haywood gave a recital of Vitali, Beethoven and Fauré on the Spivey Hall stage, a gilded "frame" with superb acoustics that provided just the ideal circumstance for Bell's artistry and Haywood's crystalline sound. Spivey Hall only accommodates 400 audience members, but on this day all seats were claimed and everyone was paying close attention.

Bell and Haywood opened with the Chaconne in G minor, a technical tour de force by Tomaso Antonio Vitali that was later arranged by 19th century German violinist Ferdinand David. Beethoven's Violin Sonata in A major; Op. 47 was the centerpiece of the program. The Spivey Hall audience was able to relish the obvious musical dialogue between Bell and Haywood, particularly within the third movement which boasts brisk tempos and sharp dynamic contrasts. Before dazzling his audience with three well-chosen encores that included Johannes Brahms' "Hungarian Dance No. 1" and an adaptation of Frederic Chopin's "C# Minor Nocturne," Bell offered Gabriel Fauré's Sonata No. 1 in A Major. A composer whom Maurice Ravel believed came closest to genius within his mélodie, Fauré excelled at composing intimate musical forms including over 100 songs that exude elegance and economy of means.   READ THE FULL Arts ATL REVIEW