Pearls Before Breakfast

In Listen, Read, Shop, Watch on June 30, 2010 at 7:04 am

Gene Weingarten wrote this story for the Washington Post three years ago.  Violinist Joshua Bell spent almost an hour playing in the Washington D.C. subway:

A onetime child prodigy, at 39 Joshua Bell has arrived as an internationally acclaimed virtuoso. Three days before he appeared at the Metro station, Bell had filled the house at Boston’s stately Symphony Hall, where merely pretty good seats went for $100. Two weeks later, at the Music Center at Strathmore, in North Bethesda, he would play to a standing-room-only audience so respectful of his artistry that they stifled their coughs until the silence between movements. But on that Friday in January, Joshua Bell was just another mendicant, competing for the attention of busy people on their way to work.

Click through for the read, and videos of the Metro performance.

I haven’t found a separate Bell recording of Bach’s “Chaconne” but here’s Itzhak Perlman (in two parts):

“On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.” – Johannes Brahms, writing to Clara Schumann about the Chaconne

Here’s Gidon Kremer performing Bach’s entire Partita for Violin Solo No. 2 in D Minor (including “Chaconne”):

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  1. Amazing! and almost as amazing as the music is Gene Weingarten’s brilliant writing. He had me at “the moral mathmatics of the moment.” Of course if I’d been there, I would have stopped 🙂

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