The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Violin: Joshua Bell, Conductor: Herbert Blomstedt
One of America's foremost violinists, Joshua Bell set a tone of excitement for the local audience at his IPO debut.
Playing Brahms' violin concerto, he demonstrated not only formidable technique, but also a great sense of musicality and the kind of bursting energy one would expect of a violinist in his prime (Bell is 37). That being said, one should also note that Bell's performance was almost too perfect; I would have preferred some extra warmth and softness over his polished, brilliant playing.
The evening's highlight was in its second part. This part allowed Herbert Blomstedt to embark on a beautiful journey into Dvorak's symphony no. 8, one of the composer's most appealing pieces. And what a journey it was. Conducting by heart - and clearly enjoying the music - Blomstedt inspired the players into a colorful, exciting performance, eliciting a lavish sound and a surprisingly zestful playing.
Having praised Blomstedt for his Dvorak reading, it must be said that his opening piece, Mozart's symphony no. 35 ("Haffner"), was a pleasant, yet unmoving piece.