The Silver Violin
This new release from Nicola Benedetti offers a programme inspired by film music with Korngold’s Violin Concerto as the centrepiece, a clear choice to the buyer in an already crowded field of recordings. However, Benedetti need not fear comparison with the likes of Shaham, Mutter and Laurent Korcia, for her broadly romantic approach and genuine affection for this Hollywood-inspired concerto shine out. She is ably supported by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Kirill Karabits, who negotiate such a tricky passage as the last movement’s cross-rhythms (2'42" in), which bound across the 6/8 marking, with the utmost assurance.
The couplings are a mixed bag. Generally speaking, the better-known the composer, the better the work! There are further Korngold pieces taken from his opera Die tote Stadt, the popular Romance from Shostakovich’s The Gadfly and Mahler’s very early Piano Quartet, which Benedetti plays with her regular trio. The Mahler appears in this context on account of its inclusion in the Martin Scorsese film Shutter Island. The bonne bouche of the shorter pieces is Carlos Gardel’s tango Por una cabeza, arranged by John Lenehan, to which Al Pacino danced in the film Scent of a Woman. Benedetti is joined by star accordionist Ksenija Sidorova in a show-stopping performance which will have you on your feet! The warm acoustic of the Decca recording comes in appropriate widescreen sound.