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Szymanowski, Chausson... / Nicola Benedetti


Release Date: 04/04/2006 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000615402   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Karol SzymanowskiCamille Saint-SaënsErnest ChaussonJules Massenet,   ... 
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Technically superb, this brilliant debut shows a fine artist in the making

By any reckoning this is a most impressive debut recording. Nicola Benedetti, since becoming BBC Young Artist of the Year last May, has won a major contract with DG. Born in Scotland of Italian stock, she studied at the Menuhin School before deciding at 15— against advice — to study on her own and then with a new teacher, Maciej Rakowski. Her firmness has certainly paid off. At 17 she displays in each of these items the temperament, concentration and imagination of a great artist in the making, quite apart from her virtuoso technique. The centrepiece is the Szymanowski First Violin Concerto, the work she played in the final of the BBC
Read more competition, and the passion of her perform ance is remarkable, even suggesting a parallel with the young du Pre. Daniel Harding draws intense playing from the LSO and the impact of the performance is heightened by the relatively close balance of soloist and orchestra, hitting home very hard in the exotic climaxes.

That is the plus point, but it does mean that, helped by recordings less upfront, both Thomas Zehetmair and Lydia Mordkovitch convey an ethereal, other-worldly quality in the hushed high-flying solos. Similarly, Simon Rattle and Vassily Sinaisky are more subtle than Harding in graduating texture and dynamic, not giving quite so much so soon but gaining in the long run. Both rivals also have the Second Szymanowski Concerto for coupling.

The point here is that Benedetti rather than Szymanowski is the focus, and the shorter works are equally successful in revealing her flair and imagination. I compared her readings of the Chausson Poéme and Saint-Saens Havanaise with those of Itzhak Perlman 30 years ago, and Benedetti in no way falls short, pointing the habanera rhythms of the Saint-Saens deliciously and, in the final coda, wittily. In both pieces her rapt concentration ties firmly together the contrasting sections of works that can easily ramble. In Massenet's 'Meditation' her warmth of phrase and tone never falls into soupiness, with rubato always sounding spontaneous. The Brahms song in Heifetz's arrangement is a piece Benedetti is especially fond of, having played it at the Menuhin School. Here it comes in an exotic new orchestral arrangement by Julian Reynolds, who pays his own tribute to Brahms in the horn writing. Fragment for the Virgin was written for Benedetti by John Tavener; he seems to have been particularly influenced by her playing for this is quite unlike most of his music. After a bold opening over a drone, it is sharply sectional with warm melodies, high dynamic contrasts and a hushed close.

Benedetti insists she should keep control over her recorded repertory. This first brilliant disc bears out her wisdom in that decision.

– Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [6/2005] Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin no 1, Op. 35 by Karol Szymanowski
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; Poland 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 26 Minutes 59 Secs. 
2.
Havanaise for Violin and Orchestra in E major, Op. 83 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; France 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 10 Minutes 18 Secs. 
3.
Poème for Violin and Orchestra in E flat major, Op. 25 by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; France 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 16 Minutes 47 Secs. 
4.
Thaïs: Meditation by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; France 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Notes: This track consists of the orchestral part only, intended to accompany the customer's own rendition of this work. 
5.
Songs (5), Op. 105: no 1, Wie Melodien zieht es mir by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Austria 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: Arrangers: Julian Reynolds; Jascha Heifetz. 
6.
Fragment for the Virgin by John Tavener
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2004; England 
Venue:  Walthamstow Town Hall, London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 30 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Violin Concerto no 1 (Szymanowski): I. Vivace assai
Havanaise (Saint-Saëns)
Thaïs (Massenet): Meditation

Sound Samples

Violin Concerto No.1, Op.35: Vivace assai
Violin Concerto No.1, Op.35: Vivace scherzando
Violin Concerto No.1, Op.35: Cadenza (allegro moderato)
Havanaise For Violin And Orchestra, Op. 83
Poeme For Violin And Orchestra Opus 25
Meditation: Meditation from "Thais"
Wie melodien zieht es mir
Fragment for the Virgin
Meditation: Meditation from Thais

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