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Italia / Nicola Benedetti


Release Date: 01/24/2012 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001641202  
Composer:  Antonio VivaldiGiuseppe TartiniFrancesco Maria Veracini
Performer:  Nicola BenedettiCatherine RimerChristian CurnynThomas Dunford
Conductor:  Christian Curnyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is the kind of release on which the clothes worn by the soloist for the photo shoot get equal billing to the technical staff for the recording, but this is one case where we shouldn’t let fashionable marketing put us off: this is a stunning disc in all respects.

Nicola Benedetti already has a track record of fine recordings, including her Fantasie album and an excellent Szymanowski Violin Concerto. Here she breaks away from romantic repertoire to explore Italian Baroque repertoire which ‘she had never expected to
Read more feel quite so at home in’. After a certain amount of stylistic experiment she seems to have hit on an approach which sounds natural, vibrant, and reasonably authentic - whatever one takes that to mean. She is in fact playing on metal strings but with a Baroque bow borrowed from Rachel Podger, and using vibrato as a vehicle for expression rather than standard tone production. The arias are a mild exception in this regard, in which she goes closer to imitating a singing voice but still with admirable restraint. This to my ears is a convincing, indeed a winning combination of technical thought and intuitive response to some very fine music.

Benedetti’s superb solos aside, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra is also something of a model in these pieces, proving to sound entirely at home with this Italian Baroque repertoire. The recording is superbly balanced, with the harpsichord blending nicely with the strings as it should, the soloist forward but not excessively close or voluminous. The programme is a marvellous mixture of meaty concertos, more intimate sonatas, and arrangements of some vocal works which sound excellent in this setting. One of the highlights is Vedrò con molto diletto from Vivaldi’s Il Giustino, which is one of those pieces with juicily dramatic harmonies over which the ‘voice’ draws beautifully expressive lines. Nulla in mundo pax sincera is from a motet, and while more gentle is no less moving.

Of the concertos there are of course a few highlights. I particularly like the energetic theorbo strumming in the third movement Allegro of Vivaldi’s Concerto in D major RV 208, the “Grosso Mogul”. Tartini’s Devil’s Trill sonata is a familiar work, but given a superb performance here, Benedetti seeking the emotional heart of the piece as much as the virtuoso display, which she renders with ease and enjoyably breezy wit. Vivaldi’s Concerto in A minor is from La Cetra, combining trademark technical fireworks with those moments of sparse clarity which zap straight into the emotions through their apparent simplicity. Sandwiched between this and Tartini’s remarkably exploratory late Concerto in A minor D115 is an all too brief sonata movement from Francesco Veracini, some of whose legendary life events are briefly outlined in the booklet. The Tartini concert deserves mention for its central Andante cantabile movement, which is made to sound a little like a performance from a glass harmonica through the rise and fall of pure string tones. The final piece is “Summer” from The Four Seasons, played both sensitively and impressively by all concerned.

This is the kind of CD which is sheer joy from beginning to end, and one you will want to put on again and again, and again. It doesn’t pose difficult questions or set itself up to be the product of any particular kind of historical or intellectual approach to the repertoire. The impression is just that of a bunch of expert musicians getting the very best out of what they are performing, recorded in an ideal environment by a crack production team. Not only for these reasons is this like a breath of fresh Mediterranean air coming through your loudspeakers. With Nicola Benedetti’s remarkably fine playing one always has the impression that the rest of the musicians are at the peak of their abilities, raising their game and playing their socks off to make this a very fine disc indeed.

-- Dominy Clements, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Violin in D major, RV 208 "Il grosso Mogul" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Conductor:  Christian Curnyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
2.
Giustino, RV 717: Vedrò con mio diletto by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Conductor:  Christian Curnyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Rome, Italy 
3.
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in G minor, B g5 "Devil's Trill" by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Conductor:  Christian Curnyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
4.
Concerto for Violin in A minor, Op. 9 no 5/RV 358 by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Conductor:  Christian Curnyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1727; Venice, Italy 
5.
Sonatas (12) accademiche for Violin and Basso Continuo, Op. 2: no 6 in A major - Largo by Francesco Maria Veracini
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti (Violin), Catherine Rimer (Cello), Christian Curnyn (Harpsichord),
Thomas Dunford (Theorbo)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1744; Italy 
6.
Concerto for Violin in A minor, D 115 by Giuseppe Tartini
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Conductor:  Christian Curnyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Italy 
7.
Nulla in mundo pax sincera in E, RV 630: Nulla in mundo by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Conductor:  Christian Curnyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
8.
Concerto for Violin in G minor, Op. 8 no 2/RV 315 "L'estate" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Nicola Benedetti (Violin)
Conductor:  Christian Curnyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Venice, Italy 

Sound Samples

Concerto In D RV208 "Grosso Mogul" I. Allegro
Concerto In D RV208 "Grosso Mogul" II. Recitativo: Grave
Concerto In D RV208 "Grosso Mogul" III. Allegro
Vedro Con Mio Diletto - Aria From Giustino
Sonata In G Minor (Devil's Trill) I. Andante
Sonata In G Minor (Devil's Trill) II. Allegro
Sonata In G Minor (Devil's Trill) III. Andante/Allegro
Concerto In A minor RV358 "La Cetra" I. Adagio-Presto
Concerto In A minor RV358 "La Cetra" II. Largo
Concerto In A minor RV358 "La Cetra" III. Allegro
Sonata No. 6 in A Major (from Sonate accademiche op. 2): Largo - From Sonata VI Of Sonate Accademiche, Op. 2
Violin Concerto In A Minor, D115 "A Lunardo Venier" I. Allegro-Cantabile - Allegro Assai
Violin Concerto In A Minor, D115 "A Lunardo Venier" II. Andante-Cantabile
Violin Concerto in A Minor, D115 "A Lunardo Venier" III. Presto
Nulla in Mundo Pax Sincera: Nulla In Mundo Pax Sincera (Aria)
The Four Seasons: Summer I. Allegro Non Molto
The Four Seasons: Summer II. Adagio e Piano - Presto Forte
The Four Seasons: Summer III. Presto

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Italia July 3, 2012 By Mark  F. (San Jose, CA) See All My Reviews "The works on this CD were well though out and wonderfully performed by Benedetti. Her enthusiasm and skill are showcased well in this compilation." Report Abuse
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