A glimpse at the promotional video for this new disc by violinist Nicola Benedetti gives an idea of the sheer vivacity and energy of the performances on this disc:
This is a mainly Vivaldi album but starts with a piece by Francesco Geminiani (1687-1752). We met Geminiani previously here - his Op. 2; how wonderful to begin with this magical Concerto grosso. Perhaps most impressive is the slow movement, Larghetto, in which Benedetti spins lines of silk, but few will not recognise the theme, "La Folia," of the opening (follow the links to access YouTubes)
Benedetti says in her eloquent notes that "this music must be stepped into like you are stepping into an opera". And how right she is: drama, and song, are all here. And the drama is not only orchestral - Benedetti has real fire here, her cadenzas full of energy. Here's the finale of the first concerto on display here, the D major, RV 211.
Benedetti's singing line returns in the Adagio of the Concerto in E flat, RV 257. But one constant here whatever the mood on display is, Benedetti and her players, the hand-picked Benedetti Baroque Orchestra, track it perfectly. Most notable possibly among the concertos is the Larghetto of the Concerto in B minor, RV 386, a study in dislocated texture and shards of melody, utterly remarkable and surely some of Vivaldi's most advanced writing. Even more progressive than anything in the Four Seasons (and some would say more interesting ...)
Nice to see a Vivaldi violin that isn't the Four Seasons; and to have Benedetti on such radiant form in performances that are impeccably in style yet contain the zest for life that is inherent within the scores is a gift indeed.
Benedetti also performs at Battersea Arts Centre:
Concert Times & Dates at Battersea Arts Centre
- Sunday 18 July at 15:00 & 19:00
- Monday 19 July at 18:00 & 20:30
- Tuesday 20 July at 18:00 & 20:30
- Wednesday 21 July at 18:00 & 20:30