Acclaimed as one of the leading violinists of her generation, best-selling violin virtuoso Nicola Benedetti turns the spotlight on Hollywood in this collection of original violin music written for the silver screen.
Argentinian tango casts its sultry spell in the form of Carlos Gardels swooning, seductive Por una cabeza, famously used in the Al Pacino film Scent of a Woman.
Taking as its center piece Korngold's melodious Violin Concerto - a work in which the émigré Austrian composer used themes from some of his most famous movie scores
The Silver Violin celebrates the film music of composers from both East and West.
This unique collection includes the poignant lament fromRead more John Williams Oscar-winning score for Schindler's List, the achingly beautiful My Edward and I from Dario Marianelli's 2011 music for Jane Eyre, and extracts from Howard Shore's Golden Globe-nominated score for Eastern Promises, which Nicola herself performed on the original soundtrack.
Dmitri Shostakovich stakes a claim as the Soviet Union s greatest film composer with his much-loved Romance from The Gadfly, as well as the lyrical Andante from The Counterplan.
Contemporary UK cinema is represented by the haunting main theme and specially-composed Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra from the 2004 hit Ladies in Lavender.
-------- 3664490.zz6_the_silver_violin.html THE SILVER VIOLIN • Nicola Benedetti (vn); Kirill Karabits, cond; Bournemouth SO; Alexei Grynyuk (pn3,8,10,11); Alexander Sitkovetsky (vn3,11); Tom Dunn (va10); Leonard Eischenbroich (vc3,10); Ksenija Sidorova (acc3); Greg Knowles (cimbalom9) • DECCA B0017609 (77:57)
J. WILLIAMS 1Schindler’s List: Theme. KORNGOLD 2Die tote Stadt: Tanzlied des Pierrot (arr. Wilms). 5Violin Concerto. 12Die tote Stadt: Marietta’s Lied. GARDEL(arr. Lenahan) 3Por una cabeza. SHOSTAKOVICH The Gadfly: 4Romance; 11Prelude. 7The Counterplan: Andante. HESS 6Ladies in Lavender: Theme. MARIANELLI 8Jane Eyre: Edward & I. SHORE Eastern Promises: Concertino; 9Tatiana. MAHLER 10Piano Quartet in a (Shutter Island)
The notes to Nicola Benedetti’s recording of cinematic music for violin suggest that she and her collaborators began planning the program with its centerpiece, Korngold’s Violin Concerto, then surrounded it with music from other movies, always avoiding arrangements but including only original violin music. The program opens with John Williams’s theme from Schindler’s List, a melody that has reached so far into our general culture that it appeared on a local football field during half time (as an unaccompanied violin solo). Benedetti and Kirill Karabits don’t try to gild the lily, and allow the music to unfold naturally. Benedetti relates that her co-workers adapted Korngold’s original orchestration of the loamy Tanzlied des Pierrot from his opera Die tote Stadt to the violin part from his own arrangement for violin and piano. She engages in an impassioned duet with violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky in Carlos Gardel’s Tango, Por una cabeza, from the movie, Scent of a Woman and gives an expressive performance of Shostakovich’s elegant Romance from The Gadfly.
Then comes Korngold’s concerto. In an interview in the booklet, she relates the experience of hearing Jascha Heifetz play it for the first time and notes that it’s gone “viral” among violinists. Benedetti may not eschew expressive devices, but she doesn’t project Heifetz’s laser-like focus, either; like so many other violinists, she allows the piece to go soft, although perhaps not entirely limp, and some listeners accustomed to Heifetz’s blockbuster performance, may wish she had more wind in her sails (compare Heifetz’s bristling 7:47 in the first movement with Benedetti’s almost lumbering 9:44—and she’s almost a minute slower in the last two movements as well). In that first movement, she emphasizes (if not labors) the piece’s lyrical elements, while Heifetz revealed a steel endoskeleton beneath them. In discussing the fact that few performed the work in its early years, she might have mentioned that that early Heifetz performance (it’s been called his very best recording), perhaps in addition to its association with the movie industry, might have had a role in keeping would-be performers at bay. In the slow movement, similarly, many may feel that the problem, if one there be, isn’t a lack of lyricism, but a surfeit of it. In fact, that kind of lyricism may turn out to be something you can’t create directly but must allow to arise on its own, in the manner of a fragrance, as a by-product. The slow movement suffers from the same stasis, and so might the finale, if Benedetti didn’t play its staccato passages with such crisp energy that may not be Heifetz’s but nevertheless enlivens the passagework.
She invests Nigel Hess’s theme of Ladies in Lavender, played in the movie by Joshua Bell, with a poignant charm matched in appeal by the lyricism and intensity she brings to Shostakovich’s Andante from The Counterplan. Dario Marianelli’s melody, “My Edward and I,” from Jane Eyre seems, perhaps appropriately, somewhat reticent, while Howard Shore’s Concertino from Eastern Promises (played in the movie by Benedetti herself), consisting of “Eastern Promises” and “Tatiana,” sounds as reminiscent of Howard Shore as of “eastern,” though that’s no fault of the performance, which even includes cimbalom, played by Greg Knowles.
Gustav Mahler’s 11-odd-minute Piano Quartet in A Minor, appearing in the movie, Shutter Island, may not be a violin piece, but it fits well into the program, in this sensitive and atmospheric performance, since Mahler himself had admired Korngold’s works. The Prelude from Shostakovich’s score for The Gadfly, arranged for two violins and piano by Lev Atovmian, receives a very soft-centered performance by Benedetti and Sitkovetsky, not at all so bracing as it sounds in Itzhak Perlman’s and Pinchas Zukerman’s reading. Finally, “Marietta’s Lied” from Korngold’s opera, Die tote Stadt, brings the program to a nostalgic close.
If it’s Benedetti’s purpose, as she suggests in the notes, to bring this kind of music to a wider audience, she nevertheless might also have considered how these performances will appeal to those who already love the works. And even if Korngold’s concerto has really gone “viral,” as she suggests, many of those who love it may not enjoy it in this somewhat toothless performance. Recommended, therefore, primarily for the audience she suggests rather than for violinists and admirers of the repertoire (and, speaking of movies, why not something a bit more fibrous, like Miklós Rózsa’s Violin Concerto, which appeared in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, an excerpt from The Village, a set piece from The Red Violin, or even Bernard Herrmann’s fiddling fantasy on “The Devil’s Dream” from The Devil and Daniel Webster?).
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 35by Erich Wolfgang Korngold Performer:
Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1945; USA
Quartet for Piano and Strings in A minorby Gustav Mahler Performer:
Leonard Elschenbroich (Cello),
Nicola Benedetti (Violin),
Alexei Grynyuk (Piano),
Tom Dunn (Viola)
Period: Romantic Written: ?1876-78; Vienna, Austria
Schindler's List: Main Themeby John T. Williams Performer:
Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1993; USA
ExpressiveMarch 20, 2013By Kathleen S. (Poulsbo, WA)See All My Reviews"Nicola Benedetti plays the violin with vivid expression, bringing tears to my eyes and strength to my spirit."Report Abuse
Delightful and EntertainingMarch 19, 2013By Brian Leatherman (Centennial, CO)See All My Reviews"No, I have not compared this reading of the Korngold to my other recordings, and frankly, that's not the point. This is a delightful and entertaining compilation of beautifully performed and recorded pieces, all loosely tied to film in one way or another and a beautiful recording to just put on and enjoy. Benedetti and her young colleagues are right, these kinds of programs are the way to get new folks interested in this music. Will I go listen to Heifetz and Bell and Perlman and compare, maybe. But am I glad I bought this disc, absolutely. You will be too!"Report Abuse
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