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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not only accomplished - fresh and thoroughly enjoyable
This is an excellent CD. There is always a danger in recording such well-loved and much-performed concerti as these - do we really need another version? - but this CD goes some way beyond 'just another' recording. I particularly like the Tchaikovsky. It is a thoroughly musical performance, absolutely assured technically but presenting the Concerto as a fine piece, not...
Published on 18 Oct 2010 by hillbank68

versus
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good performance, disappointing recording
I bought this on the basis of the many positive comments made here but I was sadly disappointed. The soloist's performance is very good indeed but she is badly let down by one of the worst recordings that I have heard in recent years. The violin microphones are so close that every little finger noise is irritatingly intrusive. Artificial reverberation has then been...
Published on 16 Oct 2012 by Heathbridge


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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not only accomplished - fresh and thoroughly enjoyable, 18 Oct 2010
By 
hillbank68 "almac1975" (Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto op35; Bruch: Violin Concerto 1 (Audio CD)
This is an excellent CD. There is always a danger in recording such well-loved and much-performed concerti as these - do we really need another version? - but this CD goes some way beyond 'just another' recording. I particularly like the Tchaikovsky. It is a thoroughly musical performance, absolutely assured technically but presenting the Concerto as a fine piece, not just something for virtuoso display with a gentle slow movement. Nicola Benedetti has a particularly winning way with passage work, which is not mere background musing or a way for getting from A to B but lyrical, thoughtfully phrased and beguiling in itself. Like Sarah Chang on an older, equally fine CD, she seems to hear and present the music afresh. The slow movement is lovely, truly lovely, and she lets go in the Finale with a fairly rapid tempo but, again, plenty of musicality in the phrasing. The end of the Concerto is most exciting. The whole thing is extremely well supported by conductor and orchestra and the recording is first-rate. It is easy to fall into the trap of routine efficiency in this work, but not one single bar in this performance gives that impression.

I could say much the same about the Bruch (and again praise the orchestra and conductor for being really part of the whole thing). The soloist is not afraid to play really quietly and there are some lovely hushed moments. The famous slow movement is rapt and mesmeric. Again, this is a performance that demands attention, notable for its freshness and commitment.

And it is very good to see this former winner of the BBC Young Musician Competition developing in this way. Many winners have had one CD to their name. Too many - not necessarily through a lack of musicality or accomplishment - have not been heard of again, except locally or by a limited public. This is Nicola's fourth CD (fifth, if you include the compilation CD 'Fantasie'), and it is yet more assured and more mature than any of the others, very good as they were, arguably on more difficult, because more familiar, ground. It can stand comparison with any other CDs of the Concerti currently available and is better than most. Very warmly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tour de force from a brilliant young musician, 18 Sep 2012
By 
Stephen Reid "Stephen" (Basingstoke) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto op35; Bruch: Violin Concerto 1 (Audio CD)
Overall this is a brilliant release, and how good it is to see two such popular works coupled together.

The final movement of the Tchaikovsky is 'on the edge' stuff - taken fast and furiously. But it works and the overall impact is exhilarating: it seems quite improbable that Benedetti and the orchestra will hold it all together to the end. But they do, of course, and it is a remarkable recording for that; one of the most exciting renditions of any classical work that I have ever heard. If repeated at a live concert it would have the audience on its feet, cheering.

There are times when I think that she has not quite phrased things as I would like, or has skimped on notes to prepare herself for the passage to follow. But these are quibbles and do not detract from the overall virtuosity of the performances. These are her interpretations and she is entitled to put her stamp on the works.

Benedetti is at her very best in the quieter, more melodic passages, especially in the Bruch which I have seen her perform live. She makes it sing - she has such a feel for the music. Indeed, she speaks in interviews about how it moves her. The emotional connection comes through on this recording of the Bruch concerto.

We should not take for granted the wonderful Stradivarius instrument she plays. It has a gloriously rounded tone that adds value to her brilliant playing.

I am sure Benedetti will record these concerti again in what is going to be a long and illustrious career, and her interpretations and approaches will change. This recording will stand the test of time, however, as a tour de force from a brilliant young musician rapidly establishing herself as a favourite. Five stars.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding issue., 20 Oct 2010
By 
Ian Boswell (Ayr United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto op35; Bruch: Violin Concerto 1 (Audio CD)
With so many of the world's top echelon violinists, both young and mature, having versions of these much loved works available on CD there cannot really be one universally agreed best version of either. But I would agree with other reviewers here that this is an outstanding issue. Nicola Benedetti plays the Tchaikovsky with feeling and passion yet with subtle nuances. I have several other recordings of the concerto and what really registers is her refusal to treat it as a sprint race in places, or merely a showpiece for her technique. You can hear this is Nicola from the playing, as if she plays with her whole body, not just her arms, slightly reminiscent of du Pré. The recording is excellent, with the soloist forward enough for clarity yet not too much to blend in orchestral tuttis. The orchestral sound is recognisably that of the Czech Philharmonic, credit perhaps being shared by the orchestra, conductor, hall and recording engineer. Ensemble is of a high order.

The Bruch is of a similarly high standard. For me the major impact is in the Tchaikovsky because it definitely surpasses any other version I have on CD, nor have I heard better live. Doubtless some will disagree, but anyone may buy this CD with confidence.

After I wrote the above I found that the review in Gramophone described the finale as "very fast indeed", and I felt rather foolish! However, on checking, I found: Milstein 8'57", Ferras 9'13",compared to Benedetti 10'10". A matter of opinion I suppose.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nicola Marches on, 21 Nov 2010
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto op35; Bruch: Violin Concerto 1 (Audio CD)
Nicola Benedetti has taken a huge step forward with this new CD tackling two of the best-known concerti in the repertoire. The Bruch exhibits all her round and rich tone and lyrical beauty but it is the Tchaikovsky which is the real eye-opener (or ear-opener!) In particular the verve and ferocity with which she attacks the last movement is new territory in her recorded works - it is terrific stuff and well worth hearing. I am sure this recording will be alway be up there with the world's best.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good performance, disappointing recording, 16 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto op35; Bruch: Violin Concerto 1 (Audio CD)
I bought this on the basis of the many positive comments made here but I was sadly disappointed. The soloist's performance is very good indeed but she is badly let down by one of the worst recordings that I have heard in recent years. The violin microphones are so close that every little finger noise is irritatingly intrusive. Artificial reverberation has then been washed over the top to try to give some perspective.

The orchestra also sounds thin and strangled as if multi-microphones have been used to excess.

This isn't a partnership between soloist and orchestra. Instead, we are presented with a very close and loud violin with an orchestra playing somewhere in the background - a sound more akin to pop recordings than to classical. Imagine a tv program with the soloist's head and shoulders filling the screen and the orchestra way in the background and you will have some idea of the audio balance. It really is back to the audio dark ages.

The sound was so bad that, at first, I thought that something had gone wrong with my audio system. So much so, that I also checked the CD out on different systems but, sadly, with the same result.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely performance from Nicola Benedetti of these much loved works., 11 Oct 2010
By 
Robert Roy (Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto op35; Bruch: Violin Concerto 1 (Audio CD)
This is the second recording of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto to have graced my CD player in as many days. Both are on the DG label and there the resemblance ends.

Some years ago, I turned the radio on one morning and heard a violinist playin solo Bach. The more I listened the more I was engrossed in the playing. The player was Hilary Hahn. Since that day I have been a big fan of her musicianship and have been lucky enough to hear her play live on 3 occasions - including the Tchaikovsky Concerto.

Her CD of this work was, IMHO, the most boring, flat and, in a word, uninspiring performance I have ever heard. The Orchestra and Conductor do their very best to snap her out of it and inject some life into the 'performance'. They would have done well to have stayed at home and done something more constructive - like watch 'Eastenders'.

Without doubt, a very sad experience for me.

Now I appreciate that Comparing Hahn and Nicola Benedetti may be, for some, like comparing good wine (Benedetti) with champagne (Hahn). Well, on this showing the lovely Nicola leaves Hilary Hahn standing at the starting post. Benedetti plays both the Tchaikovsky and Bruch concertos very well indeed and shows poise, polish and imagination. Her Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic under Jakub Hrusa, are obviously enjoying her presence.

In short, if you are trying to decide between these two highly anticipated releases look no further than Nicola Benedetti.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicola Benedetti - Tchaikovsky and Bruch Violin Concertos, 17 Dec 2010
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto op35; Bruch: Violin Concerto 1 (Audio CD)
Overall, this is an impressive recording of two well-known violin concertos. The orchestra play with fire and relentless energy when required, most notable in the Tchaikovsky. However, the slow movement of Tchaikovsky's concerto is a beautiful and touching interlude between the high drama of the surrounding movements. Bruch's piece has lost none of its loveliness in this new recording. Nicola Benedetti is on great form in both concertos. Her virtuosity is thrillingly displayed in the Tchaikovsky. The conductor, orchestra and soloist combine to produce a magnificent and thoroughly recommendable performance of glorious romantic music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great, 28 May 2013
By 
P. Marsh - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto op35; Bruch: Violin Concerto 1 (Audio CD)
I love listening to it. Beautifully reproduced sounds. Wonderful music. What more could one want. It is a great buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer delight, 26 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto op35; Bruch: Violin Concerto 1 (Audio CD)
The CD arrived, beutifully packed. We have played and replayed it many times. She is a wonderful musician and a great and giving person, woth the honour recently bestowed upon her.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars easy listening, 14 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto op35; Bruch: Violin Concerto 1 (Audio CD)
This peace of music i Love and is so easy to listen to especially as its played so magnificently by Nicole Benedette.
Just you and the wonderful music when one needs space to ones self.
Thank You
John Kerin
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