Shostakovich & Glazunov - Violin Concertos
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Cat No: 4788758
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 1st July 2016
WorksViolin Concerto in A minor, op.82
Violin Concerto no.1 in A minor, op.99
ArtistsNicola Benedetti (violin)
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
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 the 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of Russian state censorship at the time of composition in the 1940s meant that Shostakovich kept the concerto unpublished until after Stalin’s death – it was first performed in 1955 by David Oistrakh, and immediately won high international regard.
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.
1Shostakovich : Violin Concerto No.1 In A Minor, Op.99 (Formerly Op.77) : 1. Nocturne (Moderato)
2Shostakovich : Violin Concerto No.1 In A Minor, Op.99 (Formerly Op.77) : 2. Scherzo (Allegro)
3Shostakovich : Violin Concerto No.1 In A Minor, Op.99 (Formerly Op.77) : 3. Passacaglia (Andante)
4Shostakovich : Violin Concerto No.1 In A Minor, Op.99 (Formerly Op.77) : 3a Cadenza
5Shostakovich : Violin Concerto No.1 In A Minor, Op.99 (Formerly Op.77) : 4. Burlesque (Allegro Con Brio - Presto)
6Glazunov : Violin Concerto In A Minor, Op.82 : 1. Moderato
7Glazunov : Violin Concerto In A Minor, Op.82 : 2. Andante
8Glazunov : Violin Concerto In A Minor, Op.82 : 3. Allegro
A hallmark of these performances from Nicola Benedetti is the evident care and thoughtfulness that have gone into their preparation. It becomes obvious when reading Helen Wallace’s booklet notes, which include comments from Benedetti herself, that the violinist is thoroughly familiar with the Russian tradition of violin playing, and it’s obvious too in the consistent beauty of the violin tone. Even in the darkest corners of the Shostakovich, that beauty is never sacrificed, although it is pliant enough to encompass an admirable variety of shading and expression. With superb support from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Kirill Karabits, this is a more measured view of the work than that set down by James Ehnes with the same orchestra and conductor on Onyx three years ago. Yet there is certainly no lack of urgency, and both the Scherzo and the closing Burlesque have real grit and bite about them, driven but not hectic, with articulation always crystal clear. At the heart of the performance are a Passacaglia and cadenza which are remarkable for their openness and expressive honesty, with orchestral colours of considerable depth, and solo playing that combines beauty with passion. Throughout the reading, Benedetti shows real musical maturity, in a significant addition to her (and the work’s) discography.
The Glazunov Concerto is the perfect foil, sumptuously recorded and beautifully played, its first two ‘movements’ wonderfully relaxed, yet soulful and meltingly lyrical. Benedetti brings just the right degree of reflectiveness to the Andante, the cadenza once again showing rare insight. The gradual emergence of the festive Animando is a thrilling moment, and the folk elements of the concluding Allegro are delightfully poised, with more than a hint of the English pastoral about them. Brilliant sonorities are brought out by the detailed yet natural recording, with the soloist very much centre-stage yet not unduly spotlit. The close is carefree but uplifting, deliciously throwaway, and one gets a sense that all involved were simply enjoying the moment.
For those wanting excellent modern recordings of these ever-popular works, this disc is now a top contender, finely presented and a credit to all involved.
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