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4.0 out of 5 stars13
4.0 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 September 2007
I now have all three of Nicola Benedetti's CDs, and rather to my surprise I think I like this one best. The first track, of 'The Lark Ascending', is a really beautiful, measured, controlled performance, among the best I have heard (I have 5 recordings, all good), very assured, very musical. The Tavener pieces are all intriguing, and there is good deal of variety among them, which surprised me a little (maybe it should not have done), but the composer's trade marks of unusual sonorities and a rhapsodic/ecstatic/ethereal manner are there throughout. This CD is full of beautiful sounds, and a great deal of credit has to go to young Miss Benedetti. Credit, too, that she has come up with this unexpected (and challenging) programme, which works very well. What I'd like to stress is that the unfamiliar pieces - Tavener's Dhyana and the 5 Lalishri pieces - are so intriguing and enjoyable to listen to. They command the listener's attention, and they are played so, so well, as if the soloist has identified completely with them and given them their voice. There is also a very beautiful performance of the well-known 'Song for Athene' arranged by the composer for solo violin and strings. The recording, with good support from Andrew Litton and the London Phil., sounds very well on the whole (but see below) and the sounds of Nicola's Stradivari, in her hands, are to die for. What is clear is that Nicola Benedetti, still only 20, is very gifted, not only as a player, but as an interpreter and a musician, as this most enjoyable CD proves.

P.S. I note that two other reviewers have pointed out an 'intrusive noise' on tracks 1 and 4 of the CD. They are right ; I should have mentioned it, perhaps, but it is fair to say that it affects no more than 3 or 4 minutes of a 64-minute CD. I have put up with far worse on every 'historical' recording I've ever listened to and on a few modern ones too. But fair is fair - what ever the noise is, it shouldn't be there.

P.P.S. (!) I see that another reviewer finds the extraneous noises much more noticeable on computer play than CD player play. I have played this CD only on a CD player - it may be that, for this recording, that is a better medium, though I do still agree that this kind of problem, which has clearly annoyed some listeners, should not be there.
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on 25 September 2007
I have a problem here. The playing of Benedetti is indeed "ethereal" and more than upto the standards of her first 2 recordings which I also have. However, unless I have a rogue disc - which let's face it is rare - there are strange things going on in the recording where only solo violin is present. Between 1st and 2nd minute of Lark Ascending, and again through track 4, where orchestra accompaniment is not present there is a very intrusive background noise,(not Nicola's breathing which my system easily differentiates). It is very obvious from listening position, even if I switch from main system to my micro one. I wondered if it was the nature of recording exposed violin in an orchestral hall, but my alternative Lark's,(Kennedy in Symphony Hall, Jansen in Watford Colosseum), only reveal such noise at all if you get right next to the drivers - and it doesn't intrude. I don't know what the noise is but suspect the DG engineers have let one through quality control without adjusting the noise out,(sorry, but don't know technical term..!). If I am wrong I would appreciate some other reviews,(I note the first one said top flight recording).
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on 6 April 2008
Well I've just been duped into thinking that the noises that previous reviewers had complained about had been sorted. The cd has a sticker on it proclaiming that it 'includes a brand new recording of The Lark Ascending' Excellent, I thought word has got back to those in the business and the problem has been removed. I've got news for you, the noise is still there throughout the first six minutes of The Lark although it does appear to lesser extents through the whole piece and throughout all of Lalishri (The first piece, not the following cycles. The Lark is still a lovely piece and the Taverner pieces are growing on me if only it weren't for the extranious noises. I have, however noticed, that the noices which are very prominent when playing the cd on my computer are not so noticable when playing it on a cd player except at louder volumes.
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on 28 September 2007
I agree with the previous contributor Mark Siner, this recording definitely has noises going on in the background. I have been looking forward to this new Tavener work for some time. The composition itself is wonderful and grows with every listen, but the engineers have tranformed what should have been a great listening experience into a very frustating one.
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on 11 February 2008
The music- composition and performance is first class and, had the recording been of similar quality the cd would have deserved a 5 star rating
Unfortunately, the background noise mentioned in the other reviews totally spoils all the quiet passages- you are sitting there listening to the noise rather than the violin.The noise can also be heard to a lesser extend throughout most of the recording.I also found the heavy breathing distracting ( I suspect Ms B may have had a cold when the recording was made.
Being from Ayrshire myself, I wish Nicola well but cannot excuse the slip-shod recording by D.G. and regrettably, and for no other reason, can only award one star.
Another reviewer compares the sound quality to that of historical recordings, but this is 2008 and with the technology available nothing other than near perfection regarding sound quality should be acceptable.
I have Nicola`s 2 previous CDs with whch I am perfectly happy. I think that the record company should do the decent thing here - re-record the works and offer to replace the original recoding free of charge
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on 24 January 2015
Its a perfect recording
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on 19 August 2012
I bought this album for the achingly lovely rendition of Lark Ascending, which is simply ambrosial. The other pieces are beautiful and interesting, but it is worth buying for the Vaughan-Williams alone. I recently changed computer and the background noise mentioned by other reviewers is more intrusive on my new one than it was on the old one.
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on 21 November 2010
Ralph Vaughan Williams
The Lark Ascending
John Tavener
Song For Athene
Lalishri - Introduction
Lalishri Cycle 1
Lalishri Cycle 2
Lalishri Cycle 3
Lalishri Cycle 4
Nicola Benedetti
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Andrew Litton
Recorded: 2007

I was interested in the relationship between Benedetti and Tavener, when I heard 'Fragment for the Virgin' that was written especially for Benedetti recorded in her debut albumNicola Benedetti. Then I found a great recording of Benedetti with Andrew Litton, the conductor, and London Philharmonic, to recognize the beauty of John Tavener. The invitation of Benedetti to non-European music makes me feel, that she is pure. 'Dhyana', 'Lalishri' also written for Benedetti and 'Song For Athene', they are played by solo violin and strings of beautiful London Philharmonic.
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on 28 April 2014
I have been fortunate to see Nicola playing live on 2 occasions and have tickets to see her again at the Great Hall, Guildhall, City of London during the City of London Festival on July 14th 2014. This recording of Vaughan Williams "The Lark Ascending" and Tavener's "Lalishri" is ethereal.
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on 21 May 2015
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