Nicola Benedetti

Tchaikovsky, Bruch: Violin Concertos

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In her previous recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Nicola Benedetti displayed a varied repertoire that ranged from works by Vaughan Williams and Tavener to MacMillan and Szymanowski, which are not exactly eccentric choices but somewhat outside the usual programming for young virtuoso violinists. Yet the time has come for Benedetti to take on the blockbusters of her profession, and the violin concertos by Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky and Max Bruch on this 2011 release are central to the genre. Supported by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Jakub Hrusa, Benedetti plays with flexibility and a sweet expression that is slightly introspective and poignant in the lyrical passages, but assured and outgoing in the flashy sections. There is no question that she has grown into these challenging pieces and has both the emotional maturity and technical acumen to bring them off. But they still feel like youthful performances, fresh in spirit and bright in sound, so they will appeal to an audience that prizes those qualities over an older violinist's more seasoned approach. Even so, in the Bruch, Benedetti evokes enough of that concerto's autumnal feeling in her darker tone to balance her effervescence in the Tchaikovsky. Deutsche Grammophon's reproduction is exceptional, giving Benedetti a natural placement in media res, while bringing out all the details in the orchestral accompaniment.

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