Decca Classics is thrilled to announce a new Baroque album from Grammy award-winning violinist Nicola Benedetti. This is the first album Benedetti has released on a period set-up including gut strings, and she is joined by a leading group of freelance baroque musicians, forming the Benedetti Baroque Orchestra for the very first time. The album features a selection of concerti by Vivaldi plus Geminiani’s incredible arrangement of Corelli’s ‘La Folia’, one of the oldest western classical themes which has been arranged by many composers over time, particularly in the baroque era. Geminiani was one of the greatest violinists of the era and Corelli was one of his teachers whilst growing up in Italy. Later when he moved to London, Geminiani reworked a number of Corelli’s works for local audiences including this arrangement of ‘La Folia’. Singles will be released on 4, 25 June and 2 July in the lead-up to the full album being available from Friday 16 July.
Baroque music is a gift to the world of music education and for the first time the Benedetti Foundation presents the Baroque Virtual Sessions for three weeks in July. Following the enormous success of the four Virtual Sessions which have taken place during the pandemic – with 23,000 participants from 84 countries – the Benedetti Foundation will work with musicians of all ages and stages on Geminiani’s La Folia which features on the Baroque album. This work is a ‘Theme and Variations’ and will be especially arranged by the Ayoub Sisters for all levels of playing from beginner to advanced. The Sessions will be led by experts in baroque performance and supported by the Foundation’s brilliant team of tutors. Together they will pull apart the fundamental elements of baroque music, working on expression, interplay, structure, bass lines, improvisation, dance, rhythm and virtuosity. The Foundation will also collaborate with a group of young and innovative dancers, who will help participants to set their bodies free to explore rhythm and expression. More details to be announced in due course.
UK audiences can enjoy a series of eight intimate, live concerts of music featured on the new album in the beautiful setting of Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall from 18 – 21 July, the same venue Baroque was recorded in. These concerts will last approximately one hour and are presented by Nicola Benedetti with Askonas Holt. The atmosphere will be conversational, spontaneous, uplifting and personal. The concerts will prove to be a unique offer bringing much needed joy as we emerge from the pandemic, and audiences are welcomed back into the COVID-secure concert hall.
Nicola Benedetti commented, ‘This music is so deeply invigorating, energy-giving, freeing, grounding and moving. I am so excited to be releasing my first baroque album with this wonderful group of freelance musicians, and to have the opportunity to perform it for people in the hauntingly beautiful setting of Battersea Arts Centre. I have long dreamt of presenting a project which brings together a recording, live performance and our education work and with Baroque we are finally achieving this. Emotionally and psychologically musicians crave making music together and performing for people, live. As we hopefully emerge from this dark pandemic period, we want to bring hope and uplift and baroque music, especially Italian Baroque with all its song and dance, does this to the fullest. It expresses joyousness and drama in equal measure. It celebrates and embodies dance, community, and improvisation. It has rhythmic continuity and solidity, discernible harmonic sequences and patterns. This music must be stepped into like you are stepping into an opera. We musicians are all acting, all giving and taking demonstratively and with fervor. It’s full of stories we all relate to, and was intended to be understood and enjoyed. Early eighteenth-century Venice’s public wasn’t any old public, though. Everyone made music of some kind, be it at home, in the street, on or offstage. Amateur music-making was shared, and inspired sharing. Music was a part of people’s lives; written, played and sung for and by the people. But I’ve also long believed that Baroque music in general is an untapped secret for the world of collective and community music making and occupies an odd place in our formative years of learning instrumental music. We have so much more to learn from the energetic and revolutionary advancements in baroque interpretation. We can approach these works in ways that inspire fun and enjoyment, a greater sense of togetherness and community, a true abandonment of caution, and an embracing of scratches and scrapes. We can, through this music, connect more thoroughly to dance and rhythm, and contemporise its relevance. And I absolutely cannot wait!’
Concert Times & Dates at Battersea Arts Centre, UK
- Sunday 18 July at 15:00 & 19:00
- Monday 19 July at 18:00 & 20:30
- Tuesday 20 July at 18:00 & 20:30
- Wednesday 21 July at 18:00 & 20:30
Tickets for Battersea Arts Centre
- Priority tickets will go on sale at 10am on Wednesday 26 May; general tickets will go on sale at 10am on Friday 28 May and are available online at bac.org.uk
- Tickets priced at £50 for table seats which includes a glass of fizz and a special 10% discount on the Baroque album & £25 for row seats.
- This event takes place in person at Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall and currently includes socially-distanced seating. The venue will review the Covid−19 roadmap in June 2021 and this event may operate at an increased capacity.
- 15% discount for unemployed, those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, disabled + accompanying carer and children aged 16 & under. For further information on COVID-secure measures please visit bac.org.uk