Album: Nicola Benedetti, Fantasie (Decca)

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The Independent Culture

The closest Nicola Benedetti comes here to the kind of flamboyant expressivity of Zehetmair is on Ravel's "Tzigane", with its gypsy enthusiasm and pizzicato passages, and in her rhapsodic enunciation of Sarasate's "Zigeunerweisen".

But while she negotiates the high-speed conclusion of Saint-Saens' "Rondo Capriccioso" with vitality, I prefer her work on the slower pieces, tackling "The Lark Ascending" with due grace and becoming effulgently romantic on the "Meditation" from Massenet's Thaïs. Most moving of all is her intimate version of Arvo Pärt's "Spiegel im Spiegel", where you can all but hear her violin breathing as its strings are gently caressed.

Download this: Spiegel im Spiegel, The Lark Ascending, Rondo Capriccioso, Meditation from Thaïs