Having watched the Young Musician of the Year Competition in 2004 on TV, I felt that it was right that Nicola Benedetti was awarded the prize as she seemed to posess an outstanding musical maturity and understanding that is very rare in someone at the age of 17!
This disc is a great credit to her and all the effort and discipline she has put in to her career so far. The Szymanowski Concerto, which she played in the final of the Young Musician Competition, is a great piece of music that, like the rest of Szymanowski's work, deserves better recognition. She understands the concerto brilliantly and her technique is well suited to it as she plays the stratospheric high phrases incredibly naturally to the extent that alot profesional violinists can only dream of being so comfortable in the higher positions of their instrument!
I saw her at a concert in February of this year (2006) playing the Mozart G major Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the thing that strikes you when you see her play is how natural and relaxed she looks with the violin as if the instrument was merely an extension of her body. I strongly recommend you see her live if you get the chance.
The other pieces on the disc are excellent and she is loyally followed by the LSO under Daniel Harding. The 'Play-along' Meditation track is a nice touch if, like me, you're a violinist who can only dream of playing with the LSO!! This is a great disc that is well worth having and the Szymanowski recording is , in my opinion, the best availible.