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Sensational violinist Nicola Benedetti returns with a riveting recording of Shostakovich’s monumental Violin Concerto (No. 1). This new recording follows Benedetti’s chart-topping success with Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy (Homecoming, 2014) and Korngold’s Violin Concerto (Silver Violin, 2012).
Benedetti’s own encounter with Russian music-making began in her childhood, the seriousness and intensity making a powerful impact on the young violinist: “I was thrust into a different world” says Nicola, “a little terrifying, extremely demanding but so loving, so warm”.
Together with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kirill Karabits, the dark, introspective Shostakovich Violin Concerto is brought to life in a compelling performance packed full of energy, powerful torment, and breath-taking passion. The demonic scherzo notches up intensity; the passionate third movement – possibly one of the finest in the canon of violin concertos – has a grand magnificence; and the astonishing Burlesque rounds off this visceral recording.
A work with a tormented history itself – the hostile political environment of Russian state censorship at the time of composition in the 1940’s meant that Shostakovich kept the concerto unpublished until after Stalin’s death – it was first performed in 1955 by David Oistrakh, and immediately highly regarded internationally.
Programmed alongside Shostakovich’s assertive, uncompromising masterpiece, is Glazunov’s bold, colourful Violin Concerto. A late-Romantic work, the Glazunov is notable for its lyricism; Benedetti’s generous, radiant performance is uplifting and finely crafted.
Dmitri Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No.1 In A Minor, Op.99 (Formerly Op.77)
1. Nocturne (Moderato)
2. Scherzo (Allegro)
3. Passacaglia (Andante)
4. Burlesque (Allegro con brio - Presto)
Alexander Glazunov: Violin Concerto In A Minor, Op.82
“After the brief foreboding orchestral introduction of the Shostakovich, Nicola Benedetti steals in quietly, with white, focused tone that continues the mood…this approach is very effective, helped by the recording which allows us to hear Kirill Karabits’s control over balance and nuance…[in the Glazunov] her rubato is effective and natural, with a cadenza of freedom and momentum”
“[Benedetti’s] Shostakovich is impressive…she captures the bleak, crepuscular atmosphere of the long first-movement Nocturne – no moonlit romantic rendezvous here but a dark, dangerous place. The Scherzo is suitably grotesque, with plenty of aggressive, muscular bite to her playing, digging into Shostakovich’s ‘DSCH’ musical monogram”
7th August 2016
“With this coupling of contrasting concertos by Shostakovich and Glazunov — student and teacher — the Scots violinist comes of age...Benedetti brings searching tone and a wide spectrum of colour to the opening slow Nocturne and the funereal Passacaglia [of the Shostakovich]...Karabits and his Bournemouth players match her bravura in exhilarating finales.”
30th June 2016
“This might just be Nicola Benedetti’s best recording yet. Two very different 20th-century violin concertos show her at her most generously expressive and succinct, her most agile and commanding...Another big plus is the playing of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Kirill Karabits, a sound that broods and simmers in the Shostakovich and adds lustrous depth to the Glazunov.”