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30 April 2012
Following Friday night’s SCO concert we should re-assess Nicola Benedetti. There should have been no surprises in her concert with this orchestra. It was always going to be capacity attendance. But I realised, from close observation (snooping) her massive drawing power. Every generation sat in that hall. At the far end I could see ranks of kids from the Big Noise project. In the row in front of me, three generations of one family – a mum, three youngsters and a gran – sat in spellbound silence as Benedetti delivered. You could have heard the proverbial pin drop as she prepared to play. I was awestruck by the influence of the young violinist.
There should have been no surprises in the music either. The concertos she played, Vivaldi’s Il Grosso Mogul and the ultimate warhorse, the Four Seasons, have been available on her Decca CD, Italia, with the SCO and Christian Curnyn, for some time. And we know the study and training Benedetti put herself through to re-learn playing the violin and this music in a style appropriate to the period.
To hear it live on Friday, with that sensational speed, clarity, articulation, depth, humanity and unerring sense of idiom and style, was to hear it fresh, exuberant, and newly minted.
It was a collective triumph: it could only have happened in this way, at that moment, with Curnyn and the mind-blowing SCO unanimous in their thought and execution. As for this breathtaking artist: she has consistently gone from strength to strength; but on Friday she comprehensively revivified the most familiar music in the world; what she achieved was genuinely astonishing, and priceless.
Press & Journal
30 April 2012
The Scottish virtuoso violinist Nicola Benedetti gamely contended with the hooting horns of the Students’ Torcher Parade during her performance at the Music Hall in Aberdeen on Saturday night.
Performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with the SCO conducted by Christian Curnyn, Benedetti smiled at the continuous impromptu horn accompaniment. The Music Hall was sold out for what was essentially an “album” concert – Benedetti and the SCO have a new CD out featuring Baroque violin concertos.
The commercial aspect aside we have to wonder why Benedetti would record and perform what is now such a specialist repertoire.
In fact the same question applies to the SCO who filled the programme with music by Gluck and Rameau.
However, the capacity audience certainly approved and at the end of the Four Seasons went wild.
In fact, I doubt if this ubiquitous work has ever had such a reception.