I was SO EXCITED to get the chance to interview Joshua Bell and
Jeremy Denk this week! Their new CD is called French Impressions,
Josh will also be here January 10 to perform Bruch's Violin Concerto
with SSO. I've transcribed the segment of our chat where I posed some
questions from our Classical KING FM listeners:
MF: This is for Josh - Alex asked, what is the most challenging violin concerto for you?
Ooh, the most challenging violin concerto! I would say - if I had to
pick one, and each has its own challenges - but the one that I think can
make a violinist sound the worst [laughs], so the challenge is
not to sound bad - among other things it's also one of the most
glorious pieces ever written, and to capture that, what it deserves, is a
great challenge - and that would be the Beethoven. The Beethoven may
not sound, on the surface, as difficult as the Tchaikovsky or the
Paganini or the Sibelius, but the Beethoven for me is maybe my favorite,
but also my most feared and most challenging.
MF: This is
for Jeremy - if you could invite any composer from history to attend a
performance of yours, who would it be? This is from Alan.
JD: I would like to hear what Bach would have to say about Bach! [laughs]
I would love to invite Bach, but only with the proviso that after the
concert we could sit down, and he could tell me what he really thought.
And then most importantly, when other people would tell me how to play
Bach, I'd be like, well, Bach said - !
JB: Or, Bach agreed!
MF: Kelley Marie asked Josh, what inspires you most about collaborations?
Well I love collaborations, most of the time. I mean I've had
collaborations that can be torturous and challenging over the years, but
you can learn from those as well. But it's the play, you know, between
the two or four or whatever, it's playing off of someone and seeing
their approach. It affects how you see music. It's really approaching
these pieces, like with Jeremy - you know, the Franck sonata, I've
probably played it a thousand times before I played it with Jeremy. Then
sitting down and playing together for the first time, you hear the
pieces in a whole new light. And then you have to figure out how you're
going to incorporate your view with that. It's like a puzzle, a fun
MF: Keith asked, as a former ranked tennis player in school, do you think the kick serve is the toughest shot in the game?
My tennis prowess is exaggerated, and I wasn't ranked. I just was a
competitive player. But I did enter a lot of tournaments as a kid, and
was into it between the ages of ten and twelve. And my serve was never
really that refined. I hardly had lessons in tennis, I just played from
an early age and was somewhat natural at it, and I loved the game.
MF: Amanda asked, what interests do you have that most people might not know about?
Football! I love NFL football! Last night I ran into Wynton Marsalis at
Glenn Close's movie premiere for her new film, and all we talked about
was football. I was happy that I asked him - you like football, right?
And we couldn't stop talking about the nuances of football, and who's
going to win, and the Tim Tebow miracles that have been happening! So I
MF: Can I just ask you, do you like Roger Federer? My husband is a big fan and he wanted to know.
JB: He happens to be my favorite player. I love the elegance of his playing and the effortlessness. It really ties into French Impressions! [laughs]
It does, you know! When I think of this kind of music - if I had to say
one tennis player that would relate to the elegance and nuance of
French music, it would have to be Federer.
MF: For both of
you, and this is from Eric: how do you guys keep up with such a hectic
traveling and performing schedule? Doesn't it drive you crazy?
It actually does, but - I do a lot of exercise to keep sane, and a lot
of sort of mindless distracting things. I watch a lot of pretty idiotic
JB: I do that too!
JD: Just to sort of take the brain down from the high pitch of the concentration of performing and practicing.
But I think we thrive on crazy a little bit. I think anyone who does
what we do has to thrive on it. Living on the edge, and being in a
different city every night, juggling repertoire and the pressure of
walking out onstage so often, you have to be a little bit nuts to want
to endure that night after night!
MF: And it's rewarding though, all the waves of love and adulation. Everyone loves you! That feels good, doesn't it?
JB: As long as you don't read anything that's written on the Internet!
MF: David asked, how was it working with Paula Patton on the new Mission Impossible movie?
JB: Are you addressing Jeremy? Because I didn't do that.
MF: Was it Jeremy?
JD: I haven't even seen any of the Mission Impossible movies!
JB: I've been told I look like Tom Cruise on occasion, but that's just from one of my sisters.
JD: I have seen all the Twilight movies though, I can tell you a lot about that.
MF: Do you like those? Should I see them, I haven't seen them yet.
JD: No, you shouldn't! I wouldn't wish it on you!
- I'll try to get the entire interview transcribed and up here in a second post :))) - maxine