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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Nicola Benedetti's Homecoming: A Scottish Fantasy is the violinist's tribute to her native land, in celebration of Scotland's Year of Homecoming 2014. Of primary interest to classical fans is Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy in E flat major, a large-scale Romantic concerto based on Scottish folk music, and Benedetti gives a transparent and brilliant performance that alleviates some of the work's heavy Germanic character. Bruch's free use of Scottish folk songs as themes, including some melodies of Robert Burns, suggested the three arrangements that immediately follow it, Ae fond kiss; My love is like a red, red, rose; and Auld Lang Syne, three of the poet's best-known songs. The rest of the program consists of other traditional Scottish tunes, and Benedetti pours her warmest expressions into these airs. In two songs, Bothan a bh'aig Fionnghuala and Coisich a Rùin, Benedetti is joined by Julie Fowlis, whose fluent delivery in Gaelic gives the songs authentic color and texture. Even though this album has been promoted in connection with public festivities, such as the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, it is actually a personal and intimate album, thanks to Benedetti's ingratiating playing and the poignant tone of many of the selections. © Blair Sanderson /TiVo
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Classical - Released July 1, 2016 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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“Only” forty years separate these two Concertos, one by the master Glazounov written in 1904, and one by his disciple, written in 1947. But within those forty years, the world witnessed the Russian Revolution, Stalin’s Terror and the horrors of WWII, enough change to radically alter the musical landscape in Russia. Where Glazounov is still writing in a post-romantic, incandescent lyricism, both nostalgic and tender, poignant and hard-hitting, Chostakovitch closes himself off in a language stuck somewhere between disheartened sarcasm and the thrill of escape, exuberant in its hopelessness and the gaiety of death… Only the final Burlesque seems to be inspired by the “old” Russia. The Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti (we know, the name is misleading), whose career took off very early and who is never one to shy away from playing both classical and jazz, has delivered a brilliant rendition of both of these very different, yet very complimentary pieces. @SM/Qobuz.
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Classical - Released January 1, 2011 | Decca (UMO)

From the start of her career, violinist Nicola Benedetti has shown strong interest in playing a variety of works, from big Romantic blockbusters, such as concertos by Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky and Max Bruch, to compositions by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Karol Szymanowski, John Tavener, and James MacMillan. Judging from these choices, one might expect her to stick with the 19th and 20th century repertoire, yet for Italia, her 2011 Decca release, she has made a surprising leap back in time to the Baroque era of Antonio Vivaldi, Giuseppe Tartini, and Francesco Veracini. Accompanied by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Christian Curnyn, Benedetti plays with brilliant virtuosity, absolute clarity, and a gentle, dolce tone that makes her performances especially personal and attractive. The minimal vibrato in Benedetti's playing gives it an authentic sheen, which is complemented by the ensemble's period sound in the concertos, as well as by the scintillating continuo part in the sonatas. Two of Vivaldi's vocal works in violin arrangements are included, "Vedrò con mio diletto" from Il Giustino, and the solo motet, Nulla in mundo pax sincera, both of which Benedetti offers with affecting sincerity and charm. Add to the exceptionally stylish playing the resonant performance space, and Decca's flawless reproduction, which captures the performances with full luster, and this album will be regarded as one of Benedetti's most appealing and popular. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Decca (UMO)

The good news keeps on coming from the bow of Italian-Scots youngster Nicola Benedetti, who takes on the king of all the warhorses, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, for her second album, and delivers a fresh, well-worked-out interpretation. Benedetti, with expert support from the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields under James MacMillan, avoids any overwrought quality that might have been brought on by the pressures of making a high-profile recording in a shrinking major-label classical environment. Indeed, her entire conception of the Mendelssohn concerto is not only smaller in scale than might have been expected, it is smaller than the modern norm for the work. The difference is apparent right from the concerto's striking opening, where many violinists try to crank out auditorium-sized sound to match the swelling stormy passions in the orchestral strings. Benedetti, here and throughout, is slender in tone and strongly oriented toward distinctively shaping the work's individual melodies. Technically she is very sharp, and in faster passages she's rather sprite-like. Her reading of the long first movement is full of nice details that fill out her reflective, poetic conception. Hear the almost vanishing high note just before the beginning of the coda, for example -- it's like a fading shard of a firework. The concerto as a whole comes off as somewhat episodic in Benedetti's hands; the normally sharp contrast between the intense opening movement and the repose of the Andante is reduced. Her interpretation accords with that of German violinist Joseph Joachim, quoted in the booklet (which contains useful text, imprisoned by miserable graphic design), who called Mendelssohn's "the most inward, the heart's jewel" of the great German violin concertos. Benedetti herself conducts the two rather slight single-movement pieces for violin and orchestra and sets up numerous moments of pure charm for her own violin. The album winds down nicely with warm, lyrical music that complements the Mendelssohn, although things deteriorate toward the end. The violin-and-harp arrangement of the Schubert Ave Maria (track 7) breaks the flow of orchestral music in a cheesy way, and From Ayrshire, the compositional contribution by conductor MacMillan, diverges from the bright, youthful mood of the rest of the music-making. Even in these works, however, Benedetti's playing is quite compelling. If there is a future for charismatic classical "stars," marketed by big labels and touring the famous concert halls of the world, it lies with young artists like this one, who keep their wits about them and figure out what it is that they hope to communicate to audiences. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2010 | Decca (UMO)

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
In her previous recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Nicola Benedetti displayed a varied repertoire that ranged from works by Vaughan Williams and Tavener to MacMillan and Szymanowski, which are not exactly eccentric choices but somewhat outside the usual programming for young virtuoso violinists. Yet the time has come for Benedetti to take on the blockbusters of her profession, and the violin concertos by Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky and Max Bruch on this 2011 release are central to the genre. Supported by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Jakub Hrusa, Benedetti plays with flexibility and a sweet expression that is slightly introspective and poignant in the lyrical passages, but assured and outgoing in the flashy sections. There is no question that she has grown into these challenging pieces and has both the emotional maturity and technical acumen to bring them off. But they still feel like youthful performances, fresh in spirit and bright in sound, so they will appeal to an audience that prizes those qualities over an older violinist's more seasoned approach. Even so, in the Bruch, Benedetti evokes enough of that concerto's autumnal feeling in her darker tone to balance her effervescence in the Tchaikovsky. Deutsche Grammophon's reproduction is exceptional, giving Benedetti a natural placement in media res, while bringing out all the details in the orchestral accompaniment. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2007 | Decca (UMO)

At less than 20 years of age at the time of its recording, this third album of Scottish-born violinist Nicola Benedetti marks her continuing maturation and seeming desire to perform works still in the classical tradition yet slightly apart from the core repertoire. Recognizing that Benedetti's bright, ethereal, scintillating sound is among her many strengths, the program for this album is perfectly suited for her. Opening with Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, Benedetti immediately sets the tone that will prevail throughout the entire album; tone production and emotive output -- not technique or power -- are the driving forces here. Benedetti's sound in The Lark is completely hypnotic; supported by the warm, velvety tone of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Litton, this reading of Vaughan Williams' masterpiece is the most evocative of the poem's text in recollection. The remainder of the album is devoted to the works of John Tavener. Benedetti's first album featured a markedly short work written for her by Tavener, Fragment for the Virgin. Tavener was so taken with her performance and sound that he has since written several works (included on this album) for her. The first, and probably most recognizable, is Song for Athene, who many listeners will recognize from the conclusion of the funeral for Princess Diana. Tavener arranged the work for violin (specifically, for Benedetti) and strings. The remainder of the album contains additional works Tavener composed for Benedetti, each of which feature Tavener's trademark ethereal qualities, again playing to the strengths of his favored soloist. Anyone looking for some high-quality violin playing with repertoire a little outside the box will not be disappointed by this offering. © TiVo
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Classical - Released July 1, 2016 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet
This has the look of a career-making recording from Scots violinist Nicola Benedetti, putting her up against difficult repertory that diverges from the crowd-pleasing fare that formed the basis of her career up to this album. It would have been hard to predict just how well she pulls off her task here; few could have heard the profound interpreter of Russian music in the Italia and Silver Violin collections from earlier in the 2010s. The Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 99, is an emotionally thorny work in five movements anchored by a tense passacaglia in the middle. The composer withheld it from publication during the period of renewed Stalinist repression in the late 1940s. It was premiered in 1955 by David Oistrakh, and in endurance and elevated tone even if not quite in lyrical grandeur, Benedetti brings that master to mind. Sample the Stravinskian "Burlesque" finale for a sense of how Benedetti gets outside herself here. The Glazunov Violin Concerto, Op. 82, is a more stable work, rooted in pre-WWI conservatory traditions, and Benedetti's reading is nothing short of letter-perfect. Her sense of ensemble with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Kirill Karabits is so natural that it's hard to tell who's running the show. A real artistic triumph for one of the U.K.'s most exciting young musicians. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2009 | Decca (UMO)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2012 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Scots violinist Nicola Benedetti has achieved phenomenal popularity not only in her native Britain, but increasingly beyond. And she has done so, not by aiming at the large crossover market from the start, but with a series of major concerto releases. She's not on the level of Anne-Sophie Mutter as yet, but she's certainly a significant talent who has earned the right to a crowd-pleaser, and that's what she offers here. She accomplishes her goal in an original way, to boot. The Silver Violin title, and the associated graphics, refer to the silver screen, and what Benedetti offers here is a group of film music excerpts. The whole is put together in a nicely unified way; even though the subject matter of, say, Schindler's List, might be miles removed from that of the 2004 British weeper Ladies in Lavender, an extravagant romantic mood links the sections Benedetti plays. She reaches beyond film music for several tracks by Erich Korngold, whose music, to be sure, led directly to a Hollywood career, and Korngold's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, expertly executed by Benedetti, was a fine choice to break up the sequence of single moods without straying too far from them. Another noteworthy feature is the presence of several excerpts from Shostakovich's film scores. Written under duress to please Soviet cultural authorities, these works haven't been treated kindly by history, but Benedetti locates some pure melodic gems in them. The Mahler Piano Quartet in A minor, although a piece of bona fide film music (it appeared in the psychological thriller Shutter Island), fits less well with the program than the rest of the music; the sudden appearance of chamber music doesn't quite work (the tango by Gardel, track 3, works better in this regard). But in general Benedetti has her violin play a variety of roles effectively and delivers a satisfyingly lush concept album. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Nicola Benedetti's Homecoming: A Scottish Fantasy is the violinist's tribute to her native land, in celebration of Scotland's Year of Homecoming 2014. Of primary interest to classical fans is Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy in E flat major, a large-scale Romantic concerto based on Scottish folk music, and Benedetti gives a transparent and brilliant performance that alleviates some of the work's heavy Germanic character. Bruch's free use of Scottish folk songs as themes, including some melodies of Robert Burns, suggested the three arrangements that immediately follow it, Ae fond kiss; My love is like a red, red, rose; and Auld Lang Syne, three of the poet's best-known songs. The rest of the program consists of other traditional Scottish tunes, and Benedetti pours her warmest expressions into these airs. In two songs, Bothan a bh'aig Fionnghuala and Coisich a Rùin, Benedetti is joined by Julie Fowlis, whose fluent delivery in Gaelic gives the songs authentic color and texture. Even though this album has been promoted in connection with public festivities, such as the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, it is actually a personal and intimate album, thanks to Benedetti's ingratiating playing and the poignant tone of many of the selections. © Blair Sanderson /TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2007 | Decca (UMO)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Considering Nicola Benedetti's phenomenal success with her performances of concertos, which give her ample room to stretch out and show all of her talents, it's a little perplexing to see this album of short pieces and excerpts, which, while attractive, do not fully satisfy. Benedetti is one of the world's leading violinists, and her impeccable technique and lustrous tone bring out the best in anything she plays, even on a fairly predictable album of violin favorites. However, the drama she brings to her playing is best appreciated in full-length concertos, which provide contrasts of expression and the interpretive possibilities that allow Benedetti to present herself to best advantage. Yet this album not only reprises single movements from her recordings of concertos by Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, and Bruch, but it also offers Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, Massenet's Meditation from Thaïs, and Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel, found on her album Fantasie, as well as Hess' Ladies in Lavender, Williams' Main Theme from Schindler's List, and Gardel's Por una cabeza, which were included on The Silver Violin. Only three tracks are new recordings, Brahms' Hungarian Dance No. 5, Chopin's Nocturne No. 20, and Monti's Czárdás. This CD is really a compilation of Benedetti's greatest hits, and fans who already own her previous albums will be disappointed that this collection overlaps them so much. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Decca (UMO)

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Nicola Benedetti in the magazine