Violinist Nicola Benedetti Makes Her Decca Classics Debut with Italia, Available January 24

Recorded in Edinburgh, Italia celebrates Benedetti’s Scottish-Italian heritage as she plays virtuoso Italian masterpieces, accompanied by the leading chamber orchestra of her native Scotland, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Italia will be released on January 24, 2012, followed by a concert at New York’s (le) poisson rouge on January 30th where she will be joined by New York-based baroque ensemble, REBEL.

"...a journey into the very heart and soul of the Italian Baroque." - Interchanging Idioms
Benedetti’s all-encompassing musical curiosity has led her to become one of the most versatile performers today. Not only does she regularly perform with orchestras and give solo and chamber recitals, but she frequently travels specifically for the purpose of music education, especially for El Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise project, which is partnered with Venezuela’s famous program. In addition, Benedetti recently joined Andrea Bocelli for his concert with the New York Philharmonic in Central Park (click here to view) which was immediately followed by performances of Mozart’s Violin Concerto no. 5 “Turkish” with the Cincinnati Symphony. Of the concerto performances, the Cincinnati Enquirer stated: “From her first note, it was clear that Benedetti's artistry is impressive. She projected a sweet, stunning sound on her Stradivarius, played with a fresh spirit and clearly had something to say.”

For this album Benedetti decided to explore something new to her: baroque music. Much of her previous repertoire was based on Romantic classics and lesser-known 20th century works, so this repertoire was a new experience for her. The album includes both popular highlights of the baroque repertoire as well as some overlooked gems. Benedetti includes one concerto from Vivaldi’s enduring masterpiece, The Four Seasons, as well as Tartini’s Devil’s Trill. In addition the generous selection ranges from the sparkling virtuosity of the opening Vivaldi Concerto Grosso Mogul, to the poignant lament of the Veracini Largo and the lyrical beauty of the two arrangements of Vivaldi vocal works, including the haunting Nulla in mundo pax sincera, and an additional concerto by Tartini.

“I started studying baroque playing about three years ago, mostly in Bach,” Benedetti says, “and to get to grips with the style I played a few early Italian and French sonatas, but at first I felt I needed more time. ‘Early music’ is such a difficult world to enter – for a long time it seemed that there were so many rights and wrongs: ‘This style is correct, that style isn’t’ ... But today this is one of the areas of performance that is in fact the most free. There has been so much diversity in the way people have performed the music that we’ve almost arrived at a point – at least in the UK – where many different approaches are accepted.”

“The sound is ringing and brilliant … beautifully shaped and with a tasteful use of vibrato … She plays all the concertos with a sense of freshness and a kind of happy vitality, ably abetted by the SCO … It’s a delightful CD, with a warm and bright recording.” – Record Review, The Strad

Following the release of Italia and concert in New York, Benedetti will travel to the west coast to perform the Bruch’s Violin Concerto no. 1 with the Pacific Symphony.

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