Today Grammy award-winning violinist Nicola Benedetti digitally released her new album Elgar. The recording explores music by Britain’s best loved composer, Edward Elgar, and features his vast Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61 coupled with three short works for violin and piano: Salut d’Amour, Sospiri and Chanson de Nuit.
“She takes on an epic and makes magic” – The Times
Elgar’s Violin Concerto is considered to be one of the most technically demanding violin concertos and is a marathon for the soloist at just under an hour in length. Nicola Benedetti performs the Violin Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. Geoff Brown at The Times noted, “She takes on an epic and makes magic”, and The Guardian’s music critic Erica Jeal observed, “Benedetti’s tone and decisiveness is made for this work, and she brings an understated edge to the added miniatures, too.”
Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto was composed for the violinist Fritz Kreisler, regarded as one of the greatest violinists of all time. Kreisler gave the premiere, which Elgar conducted, in London in 1910. Elgar was a severe self-critic but thought very highly of this work and admitted, “It’s good! Awfully emotional! Too emotional, but I love it.” The concerto is dedicated to Kreisler but Elgar wrote an inscription in Spanish, “Aqui está encerrada el alma de …..” (“Herein is enshrined the soul of …..”), a quotation from the novel Gil Blas by Alain-René Lesage, and several names have been proposed to match the mysterious inscription.
Pianist Petr Liminov joins Benedetti for three short works for violin and piano: Salut d’Amour, Sospiri and Chanson de Nuit. Nicola Benedetti was so intensely moved by Salut d’Amour when she first heard it, aged six, that she burst into tears. She launched ‘Learn Salut d’Amour with Nicky’, as part of the Benedetti Foundation’s online series, and invited young musicians to learn and perform the piece via her daily tutorials in April.
The heartfelt adagio Sospiri was written in the lead up to WW1 and was originally intended as a companion piece to Salut d’Amour but what emerged was a more intense piece. Both works were originally written for string orchestra but are performed here in the composer’s own arrangements for violin and piano alongside the charming Chanson de Nuit.
“The depth of love and fascination I have for this man and his music has made this entire process a dream”
Nicola Benedetti said, “The depth of love and fascination I have for this man and his music has made this entire process a dream. He was so out of the ordinary, from his non-traditional training to his understanding of people to his style of expression in music – there is only one Edward Elgar, and I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to record so much of his music.”
Nicola Benedetti’s new album Elgar has been digitally released.