The inclusion of Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy" which uses traditional tunes, including those of Robert Burns, neatly links to three Burns songs arranged for violin and orchestra. The Scottish folk music that ends the album includes some of Scotland's most esteemed folk musicians including the singer Julie Fowlis . . . Benedetti joins in the ensemble with real gusto and feeling for the music. The music of Benedetti's homeland is clearly close to her heart and performed with sensitivity throughout this refreshing album.
Benedetti celebrates her identity . . . "Scottish Fantasy" has a windswept spirit . . . ["Mouth Music"]: Julie Fowlis's vocal and Aly Bain and Duncan Chisholm's fiddles inscribing whirls alongside Benedetti . . .
The virtuoso violinist shows off her versatility . . .
. . . [with this] deeply personal album Benedetti explores the music of her native Scotland, combining the traditions of both classical and folk music . . . This is a thoughtful and imaginative selection of music, lovingly and impeccably performed, that will delight Nicola Benedetti's legion of fans.
. . . [Bruch / "Scottish Fantasy"]: her lovely, expressive tone takes flight against a backdrop of brooding horn-section hills . . . Benedetti is clearly having fun with the folkies . . .
Brilliant combination of the Bruch "Scottish Fantasy" with traditional Scots fiddling . . . what does seem to have happened is the Scots element has provided some cross-fertilisation with the Bruch . . . Bruch takes a group of Scots traditional tunes and throws them into the mill of German romanticism. Benedetti's performance balances both these traditions within the work. The "Introduction" is gravely impressive with Benedetti playing with lovely slim and elegant tone. At her first entry she steals in almost unnoticed -- magic. In the "Scherzo" things get characterfully vigorous, with a nice bounce to the rhythms. Benedetti throws off the bravura elements with aplomb. Both she and MacDonald keep the movement very toe-tapping. The "Andante" has a singing melancholy about it again with a lovely sweet tone and fine flexibility from Benedetti. Finally a perky and infectious finale with a nice snap to Benedetti's playing. In the hands of some performers the "Scottish Fantasy" can seem a poor relation to Bruch's First Violin Concerto. But here Benedetti, MacDonald and the BBC Symphony Orchestra re-invigorated the work in an enjoyably notable performance . . . [Burns / Songs]: The first and last receive quite luxuriant treatments for violin and orchestra from arranger Paul Campbell. Whilst they are unashamedly romantic, they are also very appealing and stay just this side of soupy . . . [Limonov / "Auld lang syne"]: a stunning set of unaccompanied variations with Benedetti creating drone accompaniment by double stopping. The traditional music sets are just magic . . . they are all a complete delight. But I am aware that we are listening to a fascinating rapprochement between two very different traditions . . . a lushly lovely arrangement by Campbell of "Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond".
. . . [Bruch / "Schottische Fantasie"]: Benedetti gives a transparent and brilliant performance that alleviates some of the work's heavy Germanic character . . . [Burns]: Benedetti pours her warmest expressions into these airs. In two songs, "Bothan a bh'aig Fionnghuala" and "Coisich a R¨in", Benedetti is joined by Julie Fowlis, whose fluent delivery in Gaelic gives the songs authentic color and texture . . . a personal and intimate album, thanks to Benedetti's ingratiating playing and the poignant tone . . .