Nicola Benedetti's Homecoming: A Scottish Fantasy is the violinist's tribute to her native land, in celebration of Scotland's Year of Homecoming 2014. Of primary interest to classical fans is Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy in E flat major, a large-scale Romantic concerto based on Scottish folk music, and Benedetti gives a transparent and brilliant performance that alleviates some of the work's heavy Germanic character. Bruch's free use of Scottish folk songs as themes, including some melodies of Robert Burns, suggested the three arrangements which immediately follow it, Ae fond kiss; My love is like a red, red, rose; and Auld Lang Syne, three of the poet's best-known songs. The rest of the program consists of other traditional Scottish tunes, and Benedetti pours her warmest expressions into these airs. In two songs, Bothan a bh'aig Fionnghuala and Coisich a Rùin, Benedetti is joined by Julie Fowlis, whose fluent delivery in Gaelic gives the songs authentic color and texture. Even though this album has been promoted in connection with public festivities, such as the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, it is actually a personal and intimate album, thanks to Benedetti's ingratiating playing and the poignant tone of many of the selections.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson