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"I've thought to myself often listening to some classical works: 'I think I want to make a couple million dollars and turn that into a pop song,'" Joshua Bell (right) says, laughing. "There's a lot of untapped potential there." (Courtesy of the artists)

Joshua Bell And Jeremy Denk On 'Song Travels'

May 17, 2013

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Together, violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Jeremy Denk make for one of the most dynamic duos in the classical music world. The two have been recording and performing together in the classical repertoire for almost a decade, and have become equally at home thumbing through the pages of the Great American Songbook. On this episode of Song Travels, Bell and Denk perform selections from their latest project, French Impressions, an album of works by César Franck, Maurice Ravél and Camille Saint-Saëns, whose Violin Sonata in A Major — Allegro opens the show.

"This piece is very much a romantic epic, but without words," Denk says. "So the words are sort of the recurring themes and who the characters are in a way — the protagonists in a struggle. There's a feeling of good versus evil in the piece."

"Which is interesting, because it was written as a wedding present," Bell says, laughing.

Through conversation and music, host Michael Feinstein and his guests connect the dots between classical music and standards.

Subscribe to the Song Travels Express podcast.

This program originally ran April 20, 2012.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Set List

Joshua Bell (violin), Jeremy Denk (piano), Violin Sonata in A Major — Allegro (C. Franck) Michael Feinstein (piano, vocals), "The Lamp Is Low" (B. Schefter, P. DeRose) Bell (violin), Denk (piano), Sonata for Violin and Piano — Blues: Moderato (M. Ravel) Bell (violin), George Gershwin (piano roll recording), "Sweet and Low-Down" (G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin) Denk (piano), "Minstrels" from Preludes (Book 1) (C. Debussy) Feinstein (piano, vocals), An American in Paris: Homesickness Movement (G. Gershwin) Bell (violin), Denk (piano), Violin Sonata in A Major — Allegretto poco mosso (C. Franck)

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