French Impressions, Joshua Bell's first recital program for Sony Classical features the Grammy Award-winning violinist and his longtime friend and recital partner, pianist Jeremy Denk, offering a passionately nuanced interpretation of works by Saint-Saens, Ravel and Franck. When Bell and Denk performed Saint-Saens Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Minor during their 2010 recital tour, the New York Times raved "Mr. Bell and Mr. Denk gave a passionate performanceThere were plenty of fireworks in the whirlwind of the concluding movement." Each of the sonatas features romantic moments which traverse lyrical sweetness to urgent drama and reveal enchantingly complex and challenging layers of sound. Franck's Violin Sonata in A Major, written at the height of the French Bell Epoque, is a work of uncommon beauty and expressive elegance. The oldest of the French composers on the CD, Franck was born in Belgium in 1822, but it was in Paris where he became a citizen and made his career as a composer and teacher at the Paris Conservatoire. Franck's attention to instrumental music rather than opera made him an influential musical force in his country, with his sonata being regarded as an important component of French chamber repertoire.
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