For this CD, Joshua Bell and Jeremy Denk chose the music of three of the great French romantic composers of the second half of the 18th Century: Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921), Cesar Franck (1822-1890), and Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). As Denk writes in the booklet, "sound" to the romantic composers was like "light" to the French impressionist painters, hence the title of the CD. The comparison is not only very smart, but also logical: the romantic and the impressionist movements in music and painting took place "side by side" in the second half of the last century. It is understandable that they had in common many affinities and sensibilities.
The choice of the works: Sonata for Violin and Piano by each composer, allows the listener to enjoy a wonderfully even mood throughout the entire time, though, obviously, each composer had his own individual visions, musical expressions, etc.
In addition to the outstanding virtuosity of each of the two performers, the most exceptional aspect of the CD is, in my view, their profound feeling for and appreciation of the characteristics and sensibilities of French music of the romantic period. This, together with their mutual respect and understanding for each other, made their performance unique. This is very obvious in the way the violin and the piano were interacting, complementing, and balancing each other. Not for a single second was there any confusion or attempt of domination or overshadowing one another. This is an outstanding achievement especially, as we all know, the piano, with its powerful sounds, usually tend to dominate over other instruments, especially the violin, which is much more delicate and subtle. This never happens in this performance.
Lastly, from his notes on the CD, Jeremy Denk proves to be an outstanding writer/commentator of music, with remarkable images, metaphors, and choice of words and expressions, making him a brilliant writer, as well as musician!!
This CD is a MUST for all music lovers!