RSNO, Peter Oundjian Review Summary

Following a busy  week in Scotland, performing and recording Szymanowski’s 2nd concerto in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen with the wonderful  Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Conductor Peter Oundnian, below are highlights of the numerous 4* reviews.

“There was more of the ecstatic in Benedetti’s sharply etched yet sumptuous playing in her expansive Szymanowski Concerto, heavy with vibrato and simmering with passion.”
The Scotsman Usher Hall, Edinburgh ****
By David Kettle

“ I was comprehensively bewitched by the mystical, magical and torrential outpouring of Szymanowski’s Second Violin Concerto, where Nicola Benedetti, giving the luscious music all the air it needed to stretch its gorgeous limbs, actually created the impression that it was pouring forth from her Strad as though being improvised. The piece, always side-lined, needs a champion. It’s found one.”

The Herald, Scotland Review: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall ****
By Michael Tumelty

“In the past few days, Nicola Benedetti has been clapping Kodály rhythms with 250 children in East Ayrshire, inspiring pupils at a local primary school and, after this performance, coaching senior players at St Mary’s Music School . She puts down her precious violin to speak out publically when music education is threatened, and is a hands-on ambassador for the Big Noise project, Scotland’s version of El Sistema, now attracting chunky public funding and launching its fourth orchestra. We have to be reminded that she is wonderfully talented international soloist and it is understandable that her appearances with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Glasgow and Edinburgh were sell-outs. rom the quiet opening over piano and woodwind, Benedetti produced a glorious sound of mellow tone, weaving into the growing orchestral texture. Lively folky music from the Tartra Mountains peppered the work, Benedetti in absolute command delivering an astonishing cadenza so full of double stops it sounded like a duel between two instruments, and with some deft left hand pizzicato thrown in it was a true showpiece. Peter Oundjian and the RSNO rose to the occasion too, with spiky melody, bouncing bows, glorious chord changes and perfectly timed crashes of sound. Benedetti’s mastery of this challenging work was never less than thrilling, and she calmed down the excitement with a thoughtful encore of Bach.”
Bachtrack, by David Smythe

“If it wasn’t good enough to have @James MacMillan on stage, on came every Scot’s favourite violin player, Nicola Benedetti. She gave us an extraordinary and most impressive performance of Karol Symanowski’s Second Violin Concert with cadenza time aplenty. First performed in 1933 the four movements moulded into one and was derived from folk music of the Goral people of southern Poland. Bach was Nicola’s choice of encore.”
Edinburgh Guide RSNO, Usher Hall, Edinburgh
By Barnaby Miln ****

“Even my cynical soul found things to enjoy in this performance, especially Benedetti’s overarching lyricism and the refined silky smoothness that she brought to the first half of the piece. The opening theme had a strangely noble, almost regal air to it whose elegance permeated the whole of the opening section, even while all sorts of crazy things were going on in the cadenza. However, she wasn’t afraid to get her fingers dirty while embracing Szymanowski’s folk elements..”

Seen and Heard Review: Usher Hall, Edinburgh
By Simon Thompson

“Sometimes, there are miracle moments in a live performance when you are transcended from the mundane to the magical in a heartbeat – and that’s what happens when Nicola Benedetti puts a bow to her violin.

At Aberdeen Music Hall on Saturday night, the purity and clarity of her talent surpassed all the hype to enchant an audience.

Along with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), she was performing Karol Szymanowski’s Second Violin Concerto with great passion and affection, doubtless because she was playing his First Violin Concerto when she was named the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2004, at the age of 16.
It was a seamless piece by one of the finest violin music composers of the last century, performed by one of the finest violinists of our time, and the delicacy and strength of her performance – particularly in the heart-stopping solo cadenza – was simply breathtaking.”

The Press and Journal , Aberdeen
By Joyce Summers