Joshua Bell Reconquers Billboard Classical Chart; Canadian Brass, Mark Padmore Discs Debut

Classic Arts News   Joshua Bell Reconquers Billboard Classical Chart; Canadian Brass, Mark Padmore Discs Debut
Violinist Joshua Bell has regained his perch atop the Billboard classical chart, with his most recent new release returning to the no. 1 slot and two other titles in the top 20.

Bell's Voice of the Violin, a selection of opera and vocal favorites in transcription, dislodged cellist Yo-Yo Ma's Appassionato from its longtime perch at the summit of the chart this past week. A two-disc compilation on Sony Classical titled The Essential Joshua Bell, released in April and on the chart ever since, is now at no. 12; an older Decca Classics anthology with the same title returned to the chart at no. 19.

Another wildly popular young instrumentalist also has three discs in the top 25: pianist Lang Lang. His recording of Beethoven's Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 4, with the Orchestre de Paris under Christoph Eschenbach, climbed from fourth to second place; Dragon Songs, his release of piano music from his native China, rose to no. 6 (from ninth place the previous week and 12th two weeks ago); Memory, an anthology of favorite works from his youth, returned to the chart at no. 24.

There were three new entrants to the Billboard classical chart this past week: High Society, a collection of Dixieland jazz classics played by the Canadian Brass, arrived at no. 3; As Steals the Morn, arias and scenes by Handel sung by tenor Mark Padmore, debuted at no. 18; Ravel's complete Daphnis et Chlo_, performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique and Choeur de Radio France conducted by Myung-Whun Chung, entered at no. 23.

Returning to the chart, in addition to the Joshua Bell compilation on Decca and Lang Lang's Memory, was David Russell's Art of the Guitar at no. 25.

Pianist Jon Nakamatsu's album of Gershwin works for piano and orchestra has climbed to no. 11 since landing on the chart two weeks previously at no. 21. The recording, which includes the Piano Concerto in F, Rhapsody in Blue and the Cuban Overture, also features the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Jeff Tyzik.

There was little movement on the Billboard classical crossover chart this past week — and none at all at the top. Josh Groban's Awake is still at no. 1, followed by two discs (Siempre and Ancora) by the quartet of handsome young male opera singers called Il Divo, three titles by blind Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Broadway tunes album, Showtime!.

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