Friday, April 20, 2012

Mendelssohn · Mozart · Schubert · MacMillan

“Sparkling, poetic playing that confirms Benedetti's formidable talent. From Ayrshire, written for her by MacMillan… prompts Benedetti to some passionate playing, inspired by melodic lines geared to show off her special qualities.” --Gramophone Magazine, June 2006

Nicola Benedetti is nothing if not brave. Her debut album focussed on Szymanowski, an ideal first choice for this gifted young player. For the follow-up she’s gone to the other extreme with Mendelssohn’s evergreen E minor Concerto, a work recorded by just about every virtuoso who has ever ventured into the recording studio. It’s a work that requires a very specific kind of sound: lithe, transparent, pure, elegant, fine-spun – all qualities that Benedetti possesses in abundance, and which she shares with the likes of Christian Ferras and Nathan Milstein. Most importantly she plays with the kind of rapt concentration and easy command that has one forgetting the business of comparisons altogether, allowing one to enjoy the freshness of Mendelssohn’s inspiration anew.

The jewel-like slow movement is a particular success: conductor James MacMillan relishes the magical transition into that famous, gently flowing melody, and Benedetti creates a true sotto voce for the reprise – a wonderful moment. Milstein still has the edge, but no one getting to know this glorious score via Benedetti’s account would feel anything less than enchanted.

The Schubert and Mozart miniatures are also beautifully played, but it’s MacMillan’s From Ayrshire that makes the greatest impression here, with its hazy atmospherics, and soaring violin line, sounding for all the world like a latter-day The Lark Ascending in its opening pages. Here Benedetti is at her inspired best, playing the exciting final section with a bracing, invigorating freedom. -- Julian Haylock, BBC Music Magazine

MP3 320 · 123 MB

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