Nicola Benedetti's talent has matured noticeably since I first listened to her 'live' with the BSO.
Here, she presents a well-chosen programme of outstandingly beautiful violin music derived mainly from the cinema.
Her warmth of tone, ease of expression, and faultless, sparkling technique make her, in my opinion, one of the finest soloists of today. Nowadays, she plays on the Gariel Strad. which sounds magnificent in her hands.
Not everybody would welcome this particular choice of programme, mainly, dare I say, because of the musical snobbery that persists, and which serves only to discourage younger people from listening to so-called 'Serious' music, but for those who do genuinely appreciate fine melodies, and rich harmonies, this album certainly stands out. I therefore recommend this delightful album without hesitation.
Benedetti's rendition of the Korngold concerto, is so reminiscent of Heifetz's two recordings of the work, but without being an imitation of them. Even if you are only interested in having the Korngold concerto, you will be hard-pushed to find a better interpretation of it (Leonid Kavakos's recording is another favourite of mine). In the same way that the movie concertos ('Warsaw Concerto', 'Dream of Olwen', 'Cornish Rhapsody, etc) have tended to all be included in the various available albums, I can foresee that the present formula is likely to become the standard for admirers of the violin in the movies. Benedetti did it first! A similar idea from John Williams and Itzakh Perlman previously brought us two splendid albums of film themes arranged specially for solo violin and orchestra, but these were largely of pieces not intended for this purpose.
If you are simply only wanting ideas for Christmas presents for friends and family, then just order a dozen of these! You won't go far wrong. FL