After recordings of Romantic blockbusters and modern works, violinist Nicola Benedetti shifts gears for her latest album, a collection of Baroque concertos and chamber pieces by Vivaldi, Tartini and Veracini.
The 24-year-old Scottish violinist, whose parents were born in Italy, would seem to have Italian music in her genes. Still, treading into the world of Baroque music these days comes with its own set of considerations. Fiddlers are expected to be conversant with “authentic” style, articulation and vibrato. Benedetti consulted with Rachel Podger, an English violinist who specializes in Baroque music and even borrowed her bow for the occasion. The violin, though, is Benedetti's usual instrument, a 1714 Stradivarius on which she played in the WQXR café last year.
The album leads off with Vivaldi’s “Il Grosso Mogul” Violin Concerto, a theatrical work with some barnstorming outer-movement cadenzas and a dreamy, exotically pitch-bent slow movement that may contain an allusion to Indian music (experts have posited that the title of this work refers to the contemporary rule of India or his territory).
Also from Vivaldi are two transcriptions of vocal arias -- “Vedro con mio diletto” (I will see with pleasure), and “Nulla in mundo pax sincera” (In this world there is no honest peace) – plus a short but thoroughly enjoyable Concerto in A minor; and “Summer” from the Four Seasons cycle. Rounding out the collection is a Largo by Francesco Veracini and Tartini’s “Devil’s Trill” Sonata – an intimate work with a fiery center whose title refers to the composer’s account of hearing it played by the devil in a dream.
Complementing Benedetti’s stylish playing is the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, which plays sensitively under the direction of Christian Curnyn.
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Christian Curnyn, director & harpsichord
Available at Arkivmusic.com
Below: Watch her perform Vivaldi in this video that Decca put together: