Szymanowski, Saint-Sa‘ns, Chausson, Massenet, Brahms and Tavener

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COMPOSERS: Brahms and Tavener,Chausson,Massenet,Saint-Sa‘ns,Szymanowski
ALBUM TITLE: Nicola Benedetti
WORKS: Violin Concerto No. 1
PERFORMER: Nicola Benedetti (violin); LSO/Daniel Harding
CATALOGUE NO: 987 0577
Performing in a televised competition is nerve-wracking at the best of times. So when Nicola Benedetti returned to the stage with supreme confidence during the semi-finals of the 2004 BBC Young Musician of the Year, having had her violin repaired mid-recital, jaws dropped with astonishment. Well here she is with her debut release, which not only gives aspiring violinists the chance to play along with the Massenet backing track, but also provides fans with the opportunity to download a selection of Nicola ‘truetones’ and ‘ringtones’ from her mobile database.


Such things are normally enough to have seasoned collectors tearing their hair out, but the fact is that Nicola not only looks sensational, but she can also play the violin rather well. She may just now lack that last ounce of individuality that distinguishes the likes of Szeryng and Rabin in the Saint-Saëns, or Ferras and Menuhin in the Chausson, but that is to set her against some of the greatest players. Her interpretative maturity and technical aplomb in the Szymanowski still impresses, as it did when she won the BBC competition, and radiates a warm glow throughout this generous and well-chosen programme (the Tavener world premiere sounds especially ravishing). Harding and the LSO provide sparklingly virtuoso support, and the recording gently cushions the sound without losing detail. Julian Haylock