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The Silver Violin CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Audio CD, CD, February 19, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Acclaimed as one of the leading violinists of her generation, best-selling violin virtuoso Nicola Benedetti turns the spotlight on Hollywood in this collection of original violin music written for the silver screen.

Argentinian tango casts its sultry spell in the form of Carlos Gardels swooning, seductive Por una cabeza, famously used in the Al Pacino film Scent of a Woman.

Taking as its center piece Korngolds melodious Violin Concerto a work in which the emigre Austrian composer used themes from some of his most famous movie scores The Silver Violin celebrates the film music of composers from both East and West.

This unique collection includes the poignant lament from John Williams Oscar-winning score for Schindlers List, the achingly beautiful My Edward and I from Dario Marianellis 2011 music for Jane Eyre, and extracts from Howard Shores Golden Globe-nominated score for Eastern Promises, which Nicola herself performed on the original soundtrack.

Dmitri Shostakovich stakes a claim as the Soviet Union s greatest film composer with his much-loved Romance from The Gadfly, as well as the lyrical Andante from The Counterplan.

Contemporary UK cinema is represented by the haunting main theme and specially-composed Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra from the 2004 hit Ladies in Lavender.
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Digital Booklet: The Silver Violin
Digital Booklet: The Silver Violin
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Kirill Karabits
  • Composer: Carlos Gardel, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, John Williams, Howard Shores, Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (February 19, 2013)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Decca Classics
  • ASIN: B008CYV046
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,844 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 19, 2013
Format: Audio CD
This is another amazingly perfect album by my favorite violinist. She makes impossible music sound easy. Classical and modern works meld so smoothly that it almost feels like a single piece of music. I just got my copy and have it looping. I am listening as I work.
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I love this CD, and I actually bought it for my 2-1/2-year-old grandson who has developed a fascination for photos of violins! I tried to mimic the sound of a violin while showing him pictures from Google, but thought it best to get the real deal, and chose this album. He carries the cover around and says, "Nicola pays veelin!" I put it on for him at nap-time at very low volume. I know it is not a child's toy, but this is truly why I bought it, and what luck for me, because it has become my own favorite. I think it is absolutely beautiful and one of the loveliest pieces is the theme from "Schindler's List," but you must hear the last piece - wow. I enjoyed reading the online bio of Nicola Benedetti, too. What a beautiful story, her great love for the violin since age four. She is left-handed, but from the beginning was taught to play with her right hand. She is so young (only 25) and yet so accomplished. If you enjoy violin music, or even if you just want to hear some soothing, lovely sounds, I would highly recommend this CD.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this disc, which essentially comprises a selection of short pieces arranged for the violin, with the focus on melody and relaxation. Grab a good book, put your feet up and you are set for an enjoyable pastime.

If you are looking for pyrotechnics or sonic effects, look elsewhere; not that Nicola Benedetti is not capable of it. The main attractions here are the beautiful melodies, superbly played. This is a comparable disc to Joshua Bell's "The Romantic Violin". My favorite track is Korngold's "Marietta's Song". Definitely a disc to sooth the troubled soul. Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
(Note: this review is based on two posts from the AudioAsylum site which originally appeared on 2013 04 29 and 2013 05 01. They have been combined and edited for posting here on Amazon.)

SUMMARY

I think there's a video somewhere on the internet (can't remember whether it's on YouTube or not) of Nicola performing this concerto in concert. Although this video performance is good, it also has a slightly tentative quality to it. (Perhaps it's telling that she has has a stand set up with her solo part on it - I can tell you from experience that the dovetailing of the solo violin part with the orchestra is much more intricate than it perhaps sounds to the listener.) However, on this studio recording/download, all tentativeness has been banished, and the performance is wide-ranging, passionate, and brilliant by turns, with Nicola's technique sounding very secure indeed. I notice one of our Amazon posters complains that (conductor) Kirill Karabits seems sluggish in getting the orchestra (the Bournemouth Symphony) to respond to the mercurial flights of the soloist, but I don't find the orchestra's response any worse in this respect than the other recordings of this concerto I've heard.

ENGINEERING

The engineering on this disc is of course is "major label" sound, with all that implies, both positive and negative. I must say however that in recent years there has been a marked improvement in sound quality from the majors, and this release is no exception. Sure, you can complain that the sound may be ever so slightly bloated, or that the soloist is overbalanced compared to the orchestra, but, given the big, luscious sonic goals of this recording, I doubt that such an approach could be done much better.
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Format: Audio CD
Karabits is such a boring conductor, he quite succesfully manages to bring this entire disc down to the level of routine and dull. It's a pity, because Nicola Benedetti plays gorgeously and passionately throughout, showing an obvious love for this music. But Karabits just ignores her, buries his head in the score and watches the clock until nap time. How anyone can be so unresponsive to his partner is baffling (I'd hate to be his wife). In the Korngold concerto, Karabits is so disinterested his tempos sag in all 3 movements and he lags behind when Benedetti tries to move things along. He can't inspire his players to any sense of involvement or even a proper climax.

Decca's recording doesn't do either of them any favors either. They've got the mic so close to Benedetti that her very passion can sometimes be too intense, espcially during the concerto. Her larger-than-life, forward placement further emphasizes how limp Karabits's orchestra is. The purely cinematic items on the disc suffer less than the concerto because the orchestral players dutifully follow Benedetti's passionate lead quite nicely, despite the sleeping figure on the podium. Probably the best thing here is track 3 (from Scent of a Woman), where Benedetti plays with just a piano, accordion and cello. But here Decca's recording is at its most congested and confused-sounding; a mess technically.

I feel sorry for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. They went from the inept Marin Alsop to the even more inept Kirill Karabits as music director. They deserve better; certainly Nicola Benedetti does. If only Decca had had the foresight to record this mostly American program in America with an American orchesta. Benedetti with Dudamel in LA: now THAT would have been a great record!
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