Most helpful positive review
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Fresh, intriguing, very enjoyable, very beautiful
on 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.