Thursday, January 5, 2012
Nicola Benedetti is only 24 years old, yet she has made her mark in the classical world with six amazing CD's, her latest, Italia, goes to new depths of richness featuring the Italian Baroque works of Tartini, Veracini, and Vivaldi. With the help of her Stradivarius violin Nicola reaches deep to capture the energy, pathos, and emotional depth of the music. From start to finish Italia is delightful, emotionally filled with an both intensity and intimacy.
The opening two pieces by Tartini, Sonata in G minor & Violin Concerto in A minor allow Nicola to show off the rich sound of her $2million violin. Her performance is worth every penny. These two minor mode piece ache with a sense of longing, the recording captures this agony perfectly. It's as if we are able to listen to the thoughts of the composer as he sits on the hillsides outside Piran contemplating the Devil's offer.
Vivaldi's Concerto in A, allows Nicola to show off her technical prowess. I've heard performances where the Adagio-Presto was taken faster, but never as clean and articulate, with every grace note and embellishment so clear and precisely placed. The Largo is a return to the reflective of the Tartini. Then the Allegro begins with the crisp clarity of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra strings. While there is a soloist, the integration of the two is beautifully captured in this recording.
Nicola also includes Vivaldi's famous "Summer" from his Four Seasons setting violin on fire with final Presto movement. Just as impressive is the ensemble performance by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra which keeps pace with Nicola every step of the way.
Italia is recorded with a sense of intimacy. We are transported amid the performers, rather than languishing in the music from a distance. This pulls us into each piece, allowing Nicola to reach out and touch us with each phrase, to melt the crescendi into the corresponding decrescendi for a seamless, personal experience. While there are separate tracks, the album is a complete piece, a journey into the very heart and soul of the Italian Baroque.
Nicola Benedetti is performing with the Pacific Symphony Feb 2-3 in Orange County, which should be a great time to get your CD signed!