Nicola Benedetti and I have not been on the best of terms. I've always felt she has wonderful potential as an artist, but hasn't lived up to it... not yet... not until now. I wasn't asked to review her latest CD, Tchaikovsky & Bruch: Violin Concertos, but did run across it the other day and decided it was worth taking a chance. I am so glad I did.
I actually heard Nicola perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto several years ago with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. It was a nice performance, but not stunning, as I'd expected. Wow, has she come a long way. She amazed the critics in 2004 capturing BBC Young Artist of the Year. This new recording is nuanced, rich and flavorful. Her violin sings with such emotion, there are times it is difficult to breathe her command of the music is so masterful.
The Tchaikovsky would have been enough to warrant getting the CD, but she adds Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor. The opening allows Nicola to capture the subtleties of the violin and bring them to the forefront. Then, as the Allegro Moderato moves into a more aggressive section, Nicola easily shifts to match the mood, then back again. She captures not just the line of the music, but the narrative of the journey.
Her performance is absolutely world class. If there was any doubt of her talent, she has laid them to rest. The work she has done to master the violin is readily evident in this album. The CD is a joy to listen to. Even if you have a dozen recordings of these concerti, get this one.