95 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2012
Having now proved herself as a serious violinist with the obligatory recordings of the typical repertoire (Bruch/Tchaikovsky etc), it is fantastic to see Nicola now able to express her vision for music through her recordings. This disk strikes exactly the right balance between being widely accessible but not abandoning the concept of a 'proper' classical album.
For classical music purists, the Korngold violin concerto is the centrepiece of the disk. This is a fabulous interpretation and has a suitably showbiz-y feel to allow it to blend seamlessly with the other works. (I'm not exactly in a position to critique her technical proficiency in this piece - if there were flaws, I couldn't hear them anyway...!)
The other works on the disk are the more accessible ones. With 15 tracks, each one is shorter than the pieces often found in the classical repertoire and hence the music is broken into 'bite-size chunks' (perhaps less suited to the classical music purists but good for those who are intimidated by longer works). The stand-out tracks for me are Gardel's Por Una Cabeza (in which Ksenija Sidorova (accordian) is a fantastic addition to the tried and tested combination of Benedetti, Elschenbroich, Stikovestsky and Grynyuk), Shostakovich's Romance from the Gadfly and Korngold's Marietta's Lied (which she recently performed at the Proms).
Although it pains me to make any criticisms, I feel I have to make a few comments in the interests of a balanced review! The Hess and Marianelli pieces seem perhaps a little out of their depth and are somewhat lost in between the works of Shostakovich/Mahler/Korngold. Shore's Concertino from Eastern Promises (another little-known composer) however holds its own remarkably well (I especially like the second part!).
Overall this is another stunning collection and Benedetti's passion for bringing 'proper' clasical music to a wider audience can be felt in every piece. The energy and vitality of her playing is something that sets Nicola's recordings apart from other classical albums and the pieces on this disk show this off perfectly (in a similar way to her 'Fantasie' album). This is a fabulous collection of solo/orchestral and chamber works, all brought together with a unique showbiz sparkle!
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2012
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
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2012
Beautiful music beautifully played. There are some real gems here along with well known items. A great bargain CD. Would recommend.
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2012
I bought this for my Wife for her Birthday after hearing Nicola Benedetti on BBC's breakfast programme a week or so ago.
On that programme they played Tango - Por Una Cabeza, the third track on the CD and I knew then it was something I would like to hear again played through a proper stereo system and thought my Wife would like it too.
I'm not really a classical music fan but many of the pieces on this CD are very evocative and emotion pieces of music that can be enjoyed by anyone of any age.
I thoroughly recommend it regardless of your musical tastes.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2013
How on earth can a CD remain in the "top twenty" classical recording for month after month? Well, just buy this and listen to it. I am a fan of Korngold, and love his opera "Die tote Stadt", so I didn't need much encouragement to try this CD. The programming of this disc is surely one clue to its success, but the beautiful playing of Miss Benedetti is what makes it a sure winner. Surely this will open the treasure house of classical music to lots of listeners previously not inclined to choose classical recordings. Go for it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Nicola Benedetti is an absolute legend in my eyes, she is managing to make classical music cool without being overly in your face about it. She doesn't do loads of hip covers but selects her classical pieces with care to ensure they appeal to the maximum target audience. There's no electric violin or screeching strings just beautiful mellow pieces played exquisitely.
This album is beautiful to listen to, the opening piece from the Schindler's List score is haunting and lovely, and from there the album sails off on a range of beautiful pieces. I'm not a classical expert and don't know composers or often the pieces by name but it doesn't hinder my enjoyment.
I find this a wonderful album to pop on once the kids have gone to bed and I need to chill out with a glass of wine and some me time. Lovely Miss Benedetti said at the Classical Brits recently that if her music is a way to introduce people to classical music then springboard to finding enjoyment in the other areas of this genre then she'd be happy. God bless you for that sentiment and long may you continue to produce music of this calibre.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 7 December 2012
What a credit Nicola is to our country, we should be ever so proud of her achievements so far. I hope she plays more romantic/sentimental tracks in future albums and ones the general public know. She does everything with such grace.
on 30 January 2013
I really enjoy this album but I am not an expert and not always sure if my having bought many of her albums, and liked them, means I know her playing fairly well so I am ready to like her. I have to say I did not like the Beatles the first time I heard them, so there must be someone who won't like this album, but I will tell you what like most about her. Besides that. I really noticed the difference, heard what I like about her playing, when I saw a video of her playing the Bach chaconne. I had heard Jascha Heifetz play the same piece and it was fantastic. You don't need to be an expert know it is a tour de force, a bench mark that few can pass, a challenge, a view of Mount Everest with Heifetz on the top. When Nicola plays the same piece, she lifts you up on her shoulders, she carries you up where you can see what she sees, she caresses every note, not just the ones that are harder to play, not just ones that others can not do so well. For the first time I heard the music, not the technique, and it was wonderful. To my mind, that was also a difference between Pavarotti and Domingo also (Domingo sings "Nussun Dorma" better than Pavarotti, if not better than Bocelli). So if you want to enjoy music, then any of Nicola's CDs are wonderful. If you want to hear the most exciting technique, you need to know more than I do. By the way, I am not saying the Pavarotti or Heifetz are were not great, When Heifetz first came to to the USA a couple of musicians from the NYSO went down to hear him play. During the performance, one turned to the other and said, "It is really stifling in here, isn't it?", and the guy sitting next to him said, "Not for cellists." I am not sure that Nicola makes other great violinists feel stifled, but I am sure that she loves the music she plays, and I think you will also. And if I could ask her two questions, one would be, "You say Beethoven is your favourite composer, where is that CD?"
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2012
Just stunning, her violin playing is superb. Music written and used in films, beautiful. Very relaxing and concentrates the mind.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Need I say more? Well I suppose I should. I am no aficionado of classical violin music. Way too highbrow for me or so I thought until I bought this CD for my wife and now have commandeered it. As the pieces were used as great movie themes, some e.g. Schindlers List, Shutter Island were certainly familiar to me, but even those I had not heard before, in the hands of Miss Benedetti, are simply splendid. According to the sleeve notes she wishes, with this album, to introduce her music to a wider audience. In my case she has succeded. She is without a doubt one of our leading musicians and it shows.
Whether a classical fan or like me someone who just likes beautiful music performed by the best, this is for you. Highest quality at a very keen price.