Benedetti's best album yet . . . [a] riveting performance of Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto. . . [Benedetti captures the work] with a stunning array of timbres -- hoary and whispery at first, as savage as a slashing razor in the scherzo, and vividly expressive in the demanding cadenza . . . [Glazunov]: Benedetti does its schmaltzy lyricism proud.
This might just be Nicola Benedetti's best recording yet. Two very different 20th-century violin concertos show her at her most generously expressive and succinct, her most agile and commanding . . . [Benedetti unfurls the painful opening melody of the Shostakovich concerto] with a wan, broken, beautiful sound, then, when it comes to the Passacaglia, she really soars. And what makes it so worth hearing her interpretation of the Glazunov -- an altogether lighter, sweeter business -- is that she retains some of that urgency and makes a convincing case for the dark corners as well as the big-hearted tunes. Another big plus is the playing of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Kirill Karabits, a sound that broods and simmers in the Shostakovich and adds lustrous depth to the Glazunov.
. . . a fantastically energetic, expressive, and at times, emotional journey through two diametrically opposed violin concertos . . . [Benedetti's Shostakovich is] a measured, beautiful performance given ominous depth by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Benedetti cuts loose with the wild folk music of the "Scherzo", offering her the chance to show off the virtuosity with which she has become synonymous . . . [and by the time of the Passacaglia] she's on spectacular form, balancing poise and power . . . [Glazunov]: In the big, show-stopping moments Benedetti is supremely confident . . . on occasion she finds a rare profundity -- especially in the second movement . . .[she lends] it an urgency and vitality which, in the end, is why she is so important to classical music's future. She's said that she wants people who come to a concert for the first time to be blown away. Her performance of Shostakovich does just that. It's brilliant.
. . . [Shostakovich]: from its mysterious beginning to its Burlesque finale, Benedetti gets to the core of the music, with Karabits and the orchestra in eloquent support every step of the way. Its five movement 50 minutes are probably the best work she has done in the studio so far and will become a favoured recording of the piece for many . . . [the Glazunov concerto] is no make-weight, following on sonically if not chronologically to that finale and sparkling with the vivacity she brings to every melody.
. . . [a] brilliant account of one of the most challenging of all concertos for her instrument . . . Beneditti is in top form here . . . Superb audio throughout; a worthy release . . . It always is a pleasure to watch a master violinist tackle this remarkable concerto.
This is surely Nicola Benedetti's finest album yet . . . [in Glazunov's concerto] she digs as deep as the piece allows, and is well partnered by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Kirill Karabits. This is a real success . . . [Shostakovich]: It's a tribute to the fragile looking Benedetti how much power she can bring to bear in what has to be regarded as a real success for her, showing her formidable powers in an entirely different light.
. . . Nicola Benedetti's finest album yet . . . [in the Glazunov concerto] she digs as deep as the piece allows, and is very well partnered by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under its conductor, Kirill Karabits. This recording is a real success . . . It's a tribute to the fragile-looking Benedetti how much power she brings to bear in what has to be regarded as a real success for her, showing this young violinist's formidable powers in an entirely different and unexpected light.
[Shostakovich 1]: Nicola Benedetti is very intense in the opening "Nocturne" and her brooding playing receives dark-hued support from Karabits and the orchestra. The soloist is rarely silent in this movement and Miss Benedetti clearly identifies with the music very strongly. This is no display concerto but a soulful utterance and the present performance is exceptionally fine; it's one that draws the listener in and then doesn't let go. In a word, it's compelling . . . [in the 2nd movement,] Benedetti deliberately coarsens her tone to excellent effect. The performance by her and by the orchestra is taut and highly energised . . . The Bournemouth horns announce the passacaglia balefully. When Miss Benedetti starts to play (1:52) she sounds tender and intimate . . . the passacaglia is ominous, implacable and tragic and this perceptive soloist ramps up the intensity of her singing lines incrementally, just as she should. Karabits, for his part, builds the power in the music with expert control and seeming inevitability. The transition to the huge cadenza is expertly managed -- and a note of appreciation is in order to Decca for placing the cadenza on a separate track. The cadenza is extraordinary. This is not an opportunity for the soloist to show off his or her prowess. Yes, technical virtuosity is required but so is "interpretative" virtuosity . . . this newcomer is extremely fine and worthy to join the ranks of the best on disc . . . [Glazunov]: There's a wonderful warmth to Nicola Benedetti's tone as she plays the opening melody and in the first movement -- as elsewhere in the concerto -- the BSO's accompaniment is refined. Throughout this movement Benedetti's sweetness of tone and her ability to spin a long, seamless melodic line are admirable . . . I find Benedetti's warmth of tone at the start of the second movement completely winning . . . So there you have it; two highly contrasting violin concertos, both of them superbly played by Nicola Benedetti. She receives expert support from Kirill Karabits and his Bournemouth orchestra. Good recorded sound and valuable notes, which sensibly include interesting comments from the soloist, mean that in every respect this is a highly desirable package.
Her Shostakovich is impressive . . . She captures the bleak, crepuscular atmosphere of the long first-movement Nocturne -- no moonlit romantic rendezvous here but a dark, dangerous place. The Scherzo is suitably grotesque, with plenty of aggressive, muscular bite to her playing . . . Her Passacaglia is weighty, beautifully scaled down in the contemplative cadenza . . . [and the Burlesque] brings the concerto to a lively close.
[Shostakovich 1]: Benedetti delves deep into the raw expressiveness of what was, under Stalin, effectively forbidden music, laying bare the aching irresolution of the opening Nocturne, eking out the vicious satire of the Scherzo. The Passacaglia is judiciously weighted, yet beautifully evocative, the cadenza exquisitely crafted and the final Burlesque brilliantly vivacious and victoriously unrelenting. Glazunov's more popular concerto sweetens the air. A glorious pairing of concertos, and truly engaging performances to match.
. . . a new level of maturity and exploration . . . Benedetti delves deep into the raw expressiveness . . . laying bare the aching irresolution of the opening Nocturne, eking out the vicious satire of the Scherzo. The Passacaglia is judiciously weighted, yet beautifully evocative, the cadenza exquisitely crafted and the final Burlesque brilliantly vivacious and victoriously unrelenting. Glazunov's more popular concerto sweetens the air. A glorious pairing of concertos, and truly engaging performances to match.
. . . [with this coupling of contrasting concertos] the Scots violinist comes of age . . . Benedetti brings searching tone and a wide spectrum of colour to the opening slow Nocturne and the funereal Passacaglia . . . while dispatching the barbaric rhythms and black humour of the Scherzo and Burlesque finale with mordant marcato bowing . . . Karabits and his Bournemouth players match her bravura in exhilarating finales.
Nicola Benedetti lends her suave virtuosity to two Russian staples of contrasting temperament . . . [Shostakovich 1 / 1st movement]: Conductor Karabits lights the oft-gothic landscape with etched contributions from his Bournemouth woodwinds . . . [3rd movement]: [in the cadenza] Benedetti mounts an upward journey that involves personal pain on many levels . . . [in the 4th movement,] Benedetti and conductor Karabits make the most of their rhythmic synergy . . . The dervish dance whips forward with Benedetti's relentless bravura in each stroke, moving with ineluctable fury to the "Presto" coda . . . [Glazunov's Concerto] maintains a charming humanity, which this performance preserves.
Nicola Benedetti's view of the Shostakovich is poised and flowing . . . Benedetti's view works best, to my ears, in the beautifully spun-out opening "Nocturne" and in the grave meditation that is the third-movement passacaglia . . . [Glazunov's] enjoyable Violin Concerto rewards the committed advocacy that it receives here . . . the accompaniments in both works under Kirill Karabits leave nothing to be desired.
She brings the grand Shostakovich Concerto to life in a powerful mesmerising performance and follows this with Glazunov's bold, colourful Violin Concerto . . . [the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra] is excellent.
Atmospheric and passionate performances.
Benedetti gives a clear and technically poised account of both of these works, and there is some real tonal beauty in the slow movements. The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra players are clearly enjoying themselves, with an assured and considered approach to both concertos, and with some suitably dark hues in the tragic first movement of the Shostakovich.
Any talented musician can play the first Shostakovich violin concerto, but it takes a musician of genius -- like Nicola Benedetti -- to bring out this masterpiece's great qualities of yearning, sizzling virtuosity and incredibly taut dramatics. Benedetti does the same for Alexander Glazunov's concerto, a lighter affair than the Shostakovich, most concertos are -- but still a delightful 20-minute workout for any virtuoso. Capably led by conductor Kirill Karabits, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra provides the perfect accompaniment to Benedetti's stunning playing.
Atmospheric and passionate performances.
[Shostakovich]: Lower strings are superb in the Nocturne's shadier corners, Benedetti's tone suitably parched. The scherzo's rhythms are brilliantly sprung, but it's the haunting, deeply-felt "Passacaglia" which makes this performance work. Karabits knows how to tighten the screws, the movement's centre both harrowing and exhilarating. A gutsy cadenza leads into an exuberant "Burlesque", Benedetti catching the anger and the joy. Decca's recording is spectacular, allowing us to appreciate what a good orchestra this is . . . [Glazunov]: Formally striking and melodically rich, it's gorgeously played here, Benedetti's big-hearted approach matched by refulgent tutti playing. Solo winds are outstanding in the Andante sostenuto, and the bubbly finale is delightful. There's a tingle-inducing passage about four minutes in, the soloist briefly accompanied by tuned percussion. Benedetti and Karabits are exceptional, the music's unpretentious "joie de vivre" utterly irresistible. Superb stuff.
. . . [Shostakovich 1]: [the first movement] demands understated nuance; and, despite her strength, Benedetti provides it in abundance . . . The Passacaglia makes perhaps the deepest impression of any of these profoundly impressive movements; Kirill Karabits and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra open it with a brassy weight that the engineers haven't wasted . . . she and Karabits build the expressivity . . . she plays the finale with a steely sense of purpose . . . [Glazunov 1]: Benedetti swaddles its lush melodiousness with both warm Romantic nuance and commanding tonal strength . . . Acquire this recording for the Shostakovich and you won't be disappointed in the Glazunov . . . Strongly recommended.