Joshua Bell Video

January 27, 2008 at 12:06 AM · Seeing the comments posted against Joshua Bell lately in random posts, and most notably in the discussion thread about him having a baby, I felt like I should post this video. This shows that he is a real live, caring person, whom is ALSO a great musician. I think that people believe rumors spread about him, and, while thinking about those, become biased against his playing. I hope this changes some people's views.

From Live from the Lincoln Center broadcast on 12/31/07

Replies (43)

January 27, 2008 at 12:15 AM · You mean, his girlfriend had a baby. Guys don't really give birth from what I understand ;D

January 27, 2008 at 12:51 AM · Thank you for posting this Brian.

I love his playing, and don't see why some have to criticize him.

January 27, 2008 at 04:10 AM · "Judge not, lest ye be judged"...There's a lot to be said in those few words, in fact a whole book has been written more or less around that simple statement.

Really, unless someone lets you in on their inner circle, unless you have cultivated that depth of a relationship with them, you have no right to step in and tell them how they should go about living their life. And even then it ought to always be done out of love and respect, and a genuine caring for the individual. So go on Mr. Bell, continue to use your gift in life, and in so doing listen only to those who really know you, who truly understand and care. The rest only seek to profit within from their judgement sent out, to feel better about themselves at the expense of another.

January 27, 2008 at 05:25 AM · That's one lovely Leibesleid. :)

January 27, 2008 at 02:46 PM · Yup-one of the best I've heard.

January 27, 2008 at 03:43 PM · I prefer Gingold's liebeslied or even Kreisler/Stern

January 27, 2008 at 04:09 PM · That's fine, but I posted this for a different reason rather than to criticize his playing.

January 27, 2008 at 04:25 PM · Brian - this was great. I've never seen anything like it before. Loved the footage of him as a kid.

I think you read too much into the thread on parenting. Those of us who grumbled did so because we ourselves have been sucked into the relentless demands of parenting and find it frustrating when parenting is represented as something you can do as a part-time job. Or just on a lark. I love Joshua Bell's playing. Doesn't mean, though, that I wasn't going to roll my eyes at the "I get to sleep through the night" comment, though. But my gripe would apply to anyone, celebrity or not, who said that. (Then again, the situation became much clearer when Sarah Marie, I think it was, posted "the rest of the story." It is indeed an unconventional parenting situation, and I can appreciate it better now, reading the BBC's article/version.)

But back to this - I very much enjoyed it, thanks for posting it.

January 27, 2008 at 05:27 PM · Thank you, Terez.

No one was criticizing Bell's playing. There's enough critics in the world for that. I think people moreso attacked Bell's statement, not him as a person. The person who wrote the first article could be criticized for not choosing a good qoute to put in the story. Or maybe it was a good quote in the writer's point of view, for the very reason that he or she wanted us all to be at eachother's neck over it!

The above video is good for showing Bell's musical life. I would like to see his family life more, but I guess he's a private guy which is a good sign that he is trying to protect his family from the cruelty that the media can sometimes be.

January 27, 2008 at 05:44 PM · So does that mean we're not going to get Nancy Grace to take away his baby on live TV after all?


January 27, 2008 at 05:52 PM · Not today, Not today.


January 27, 2008 at 06:15 PM · I understand everyone's comments completely, but I was not just referring to his thread on parenting. Several threads recently became threads to criticize his playing and to criticize him as a person, such as his Happy 40th Birthday thread. Just wanted to clear that up.

January 27, 2008 at 06:20 PM · Um, welcome to We slam the greats and exalt the mediocrities. It's fun, if you like surrealist and absurdist humor.

January 27, 2008 at 06:28 PM · Yeah, but during a "Happy Birthday" thread? C'mon.....

January 27, 2008 at 06:32 PM · "We slam the greats and exalt the mediocrities."

Now that you mention it, I have been exalted on here lately :)

January 27, 2008 at 07:10 PM · The world actually tends to slam the greats and exalt the mediocrities, but it's certainly not the aim at Pretty much everyone who wants their say gets it! And their has been plenty of deference, even worship, for the greats here.

January 27, 2008 at 07:19 PM · brian, let me ask you a question and i actually prefer you do not answer it in public, so as not to get entrapped.

of all the players on your favorite list, name one that is at the bottom...

you see, if you happen to have a player in mind, and if you do share that somewhere, someone is going to object to your opinion.

the same applies here, with j bell.

January 27, 2008 at 07:27 PM · Laurie, of course it's not the aim, but you've seen as well as I have what has frequently happened around here.

January 27, 2008 at 07:29 PM · Al, I see your point. The problem is, I cannot answer your question. I have no "favorite" violinist, because I think that they were all great in their own way. When I listen to soloists, chamber musicians, students, etc., I don't listen for only the things that I like, as many of us do. I don't compare them to people like Heifetz and Oistrakh. What I do is I listen to see if they have their own style, and a specific "uniqueness" to their playing. All the great soloists and chamber musicians have had, or have that. Therefore, I like them all. Whenever I hear something I disagree with, I try to understand why they did that, and I try to find their musical sense in it. When I do, I respect the player even more than before. This is why I like Josh's playing so much.

Maybe this is why I get offended whenever someone puts another violinist down-I am just ignorant about their flaws.

January 27, 2008 at 07:30 PM · brian, may be that is why really, as you stated clearly.

many artists or artistic types that i come across are HIGHLY opinionated. they are very clear cut about what they like or not. therefore, it is some visceral reaction that some exhibit when being confronted with music not to their liking.

hey, what can i say:) i hope you brian can maintain that good sense of balance and civility and yet learn to be discriminating because in your profession you have to be.

January 27, 2008 at 08:31 PM · We haven't figured out what great vs. mediocre is yet, beyond great works really, really, really hard, but mediocre doesn't give a flying blank.

January 27, 2008 at 09:18 PM · To me, all soloists were great in their own way. I don't think that we will ever define "great". It is just too complex a word for the human race.

January 27, 2008 at 09:56 PM · I am going to have to agree with you there, Brian. Who can define great? Within each period of human existence, "great" is an everchanging definition. Just like beauty, it truly is "in the eye of the beholder." I think the unorthodox Bjork is great, but many will disagree and say that all singers should sing like Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler, and Whitney Houston in order to be classified as great.

That said, if you want to succeed and make money, I guess you have to go along with the business/society definition of great or you won't get ahead. Or try to be unique and great at the same time as to change to the uniform feel of it all.

January 27, 2008 at 09:54 PM · For me the problem with the direction many of these discussions end up taking is a misunderstanding between personal preference and value judgement.

If, for example, we're talking about the top echelons of musicians, then yes, all of them have achieved (through both talent and hard work) the highest levels of skill and artistry, and they all are deserving of respect for their accomplishments. That does not mean, however, that I or Brian or anyone else must necessarily LIKE all of them--I can completely honestly say that I personally do not care for Josh Bell's playing. What's important to note, however, is that my opinion is a statement of personal taste on my part, not an assumption of technical, musical or intellectual deficiency on his part.

And that's the root of the issue. Frequently, whenever someone will express a dislike of some famous violinist's playing, others will pile on that person and accuse him/her of "slamming" the violinist in question, even if he/she was quite careful to make it clear that it was only a matter of individual taste.

Speaking for myself (and I'm sure many others as well), I respect all the great violinists, even if I don't LIKE all of them equally from a subjective artistic standpoint. I also am of the opinion that a neutral statement like "So-and-so's playing just isn't my cup of tea" is not insulting in the slightest to the aforementioned So-and-so. It comes with the territory of being a performing artist: some will love you, others won't. I think our top soloists can deal with that.

The problem comes when statements of personal preference turn into value judgements of the artist in question. Rather than saying "Nah, I don't like the way So-and-so plays the Tchaikovsky," some say "OMG, So-and-so is a terrible violinist. His Tchaikovsky was horrible." That IS slamming, it's childish and completely un-conducive to civilized discussion, and usually makes the one doing the slamming look both arrogant and ignorant.

January 27, 2008 at 10:43 PM · great point, mara.

January 27, 2008 at 10:59 PM · Yes, Mara. I can now see that I have been over reactive in judging other's comments. I also admit that I have been rude at many, many points. I will try much harder to accept other's comments, and only comment on someone's opinion when they are truly slamming another person. I fully apologize and it (hopefully) won't happen again. If it does, I would appreciate being let know so I can fix this problem.

Gosh, I feel like such a prick now! :-(

January 27, 2008 at 11:21 PM · Eh, no need to feel like a prick. (And besides, we all act like pricks sometimes so it's not like it's just you.) ;-)

January 28, 2008 at 02:58 AM · I guess, but I made some bad decisions! I still feel like I need to apologize....

January 28, 2008 at 01:36 PM · Well spoken, all. One learns a lot about life and human nature on Internet forums like this. It's fascinating, really. And most decidedly an ongoing education.

But back to this Josh video, I have to say, he was one cute young adult. I'm sure there are a lot of teen girls just starry eyed over him (as evidenced by the Dennis the Menace cartoon on the clip. Now THAT'S arriving, huh? When you're mentioned by name in an internationally syndicated cartoon, you've ARRIVED, baby). He's got such mainstream star appeal, and I say that in a good way. Really, he is one of the classical music world's greatest ambassadors, besides Yo-Yo Ma. And I feel qualified to say this because I live in the non-classical mainstream world and up to a few years ago, knew the names of so few violinists, I won't even embarrass myself by mentioning the number. But Yo-Yo, I'd heard of. And I saw a Josh CD at the library and picked it up and the rest is history.

January 28, 2008 at 03:41 PM · Yes, well spoken, Ms. Mertes. To all of the males out there, don't you all wish that you could have girls starry eyed over you?

January 28, 2008 at 03:44 PM · It's Terez to you, sir. : )

January 28, 2008 at 07:31 PM · Quote from Mara: Slamming is "childish and completely un-conducive to civilized discussion, and usually makes the one doing the slamming look both arrogant and ignorant."

Reminds me of a new (?) word I learned recently: IGNORANUS.

January 29, 2008 at 03:02 AM · Isn't it "IGNORAMUS"?

January 29, 2008 at 03:10 AM · Should be, unless that was a Freudian slip.

January 29, 2008 at 03:20 AM · I think that was the joke.

January 29, 2008 at 03:22 AM · Nurse: "Todd, I am just SO fed up with your constant sexual innuendos!"

Todd: (winks) "In-YOUR-endo."

(from "Scrubs")

January 29, 2008 at 09:31 PM · "Money walks out the door when love flies innuendo."

--Groucho Marx

January 29, 2008 at 11:05 PM · Mara-was that really necessary? :-)

January 29, 2008 at 11:07 PM · Greetings,

yes. Indeendo we need innuendo or we`d go rounddebendo.



January 30, 2008 at 12:38 AM · You lost me there, Mr. Brivati. :-)

January 30, 2008 at 03:48 AM · Cool video, Brian! How old was he when he was playing that Mendelssohn?! The Zigeunerweisen was awesome too... it looked like he was in the 8 - 10 range maybe. Good gravy.

January 30, 2008 at 03:53 AM · Well, I might as well make the most of a double post. What else can I say?

He plays Kreisler excellently.

January 30, 2008 at 09:29 PM · He does. I believe the mendelssohn was when he was 12 years old. The Zigeunerweisen was about the same age, maybe older. Thanks, though!

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