Mark McKenzie

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CONCERT VIOLINIST JOSHUA BELL’S RARE ARTISTRY ON MAX AND ME

Concert violinist Joshua Bell’s artistry moves me like few other classical artists. I’m grateful to the film makers at Dos Corazones who are visionaries and could see the value of hiring this incredible artist and how he enhances the depth of “Max and Me.”  To get a recording session date with Joshua was challenging with his busy schedule. We finally found one afternoon 5 months out where he could fly from Germany to London for just a few hours and then get back to his tour. I first met him backstage at the Hollywood bowl in Los Angeles after he played the Bruch Violin Concerto and then brilliantly conducted my favorite Beethoven Symphony, The 7th. He graciously said “Very nice to meet you…when can I get the music? Understandably, he didn’t want to commit till he saw the music. Because the editing and animation of his movie scenes were finished late, the music was composed last minute. I saw him days afterward at Abbey Road Studios. Somehow a wrong note made its way into his part. Joshua liked that note and presented very solid reasons for keeping it. I insisted. After some tussling, he graciously relented and we laughed. Truth is, the way Joshua plays, it doesn’t matter much what note it is; his artistry is filled with such pathos. I asked him how he approached phrasing with such intelligence and he said “I just feel it.” I guess you have to be Joshua Bell to feel with such rare musicality. In #18 I LOVE YOU (short excerpt playing)  A fearful young man at Auschwitz wants to end his life by letting guards shoot him. Maximilian Kolbe listens to his anxiety, puts his arm around him and warmly assures him that he loves him and that even amidst the darkness of Auschwitz there is still hope. Thank you Joshua Bell!  Sony Masterworks released the soundtrack to “Max and Me” ahead of the movie’s release. While Joshua’s tracks are spectacular, the best way to fully appreciate Joshua Bell and Max and Me is to listen to the entire score from beginning to end. You can do so wherever music is streamed and of course wherever music sold. Photo Joshua Bell with Mark McKenzie holding his rare stradivarius.

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