Joshua Bell and the National Symphony Orchestra. Joshua Bell photo by Eric Kabik.

There is nothing better for me than attending a concert featuring our very own musical force of nature known as the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO). I don't care if it is a pops or classical performance, this ensemble is one of the best in the country and - dare I say - the world.

Add to this a guy who is arguably one of our finest modern day violinists and in the same class as Issac Stern and Itzhak Perlman. I am referring to, of course, the multi-award-winning Joshua Bell.

With these two musical elements coming together, you would think this would be a perfect evening of classical music, right?

Things started off on a high note as Bell took to the podium to conduct the NSO in Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92. From the outset, Bell had a very passionate conducting style. I was actually surprised that I recognized a theme from the first movement "Poco Sostenuto- Vivace" as being part of a Charlie Brown TV special. Fans will know what I'm referring to. Bell looked as if he felt every note of the piece and in turn his passion for the music translated to the musicians.

The second half featured Bell on violin with Michael Stern conducting Eduoard Lalo's Symphonie espagnole for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 21. Here is where we had the opportunity to hear Bell achieve violin brilliance. He puts so much love and care into everything he does.

I alluded to something not quite right with this evening earlier. While everything achieved aural brilliance, the dance element in the program did not reach the same level visually.

Joshua Bell, soloist and Dance Heginbotham with the National Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Scott Suchman.

Dance Heginbotham was commissioned by Kennedy Center to create a work based on the Lalo piece of music. The result was an uninteresting, redundant attempt called Lola. If dance is meant to tell a story, the company failed miserably in conveying it. Add to that, the choreography by John Heginbotham all started looking the same after ten minutes. I'm all for merging different forms of art together but in this case, the visuals did not match the music, at least for this audience member. If anything, they were a distraction.

All in all, if you were to have closed your eyes, this was a superb evening of music with Joshua Bell and the NSO. I just wish what I was watching actually matched what I heard.

Running Time: One hour and 45 minutes with one intermission.

An Evening with Joshua Bell and the National Symphony Orchestra was a one night only performance on Feb 11, 2017 in the Concert Hall at the Kennedy Center. For upcoming NSO events, click here.

To view this concert on Medici.TV click here. The link will be available for about 90 days.

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From This Author Elliot Lanes

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