Benedetti’s own encounter with Russian music-making began in her childhood, the seriousness and intensity making a powerful impact on the young violinist: “I was thrust into a different world” says Nicola, “a little terrifying, extremely demanding but so loving, so warm”.
Together with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kirill Karabits, the dark, introspective Shostakovich Violin Concerto is brought to life in a compelling performance packed full of energy, powerful torment, and breath-taking passion. The demonic scherzo notches up intensity; the passionate third movement – possibly one of the finest in the canon of violin concertos – has a grand magnificence; and the astonishing Burlesque rounds off this visceral recording.
A work with a tormented history itself – the hostile political environment of Russian state censorship at the time of composition in the 1940’s meant that Shostakovich kept the concerto unpublished until after Stalin’s death – it was first performed in 1955 by David Oistrakh, and immediately highly regarded internationally.
Programmed alongside Shostakovich’s assertive, uncompromising masterpiece, is Glazunov’s bold, colourful Violin Concerto. A late-Romantic work, the Glazunov is notable for its lyricism; Benedetti’s generous, radiant performance is uplifting and finely crafted.
This might just be Nicola Benedetti's best recording yet. Two very different 20th-century violin concertos show her at her most generously expressive and succinct, her most agile and commanding.