Nicola Benedetti: Szymanowski

Wednesday 27th January, 7.30pm

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra


  • Haydn  Symphony No. 92 (Oxford), 28′
  • Szymanowski Violin Concerto No. 2, 20′
  • Brahms  Symphony No. 4, 40′

Nicola Benedetti’s encore – Bach – Sarabande from Partita 2 in D Minor

Brahms said that he wanted his Fifth Symphony to sound like Haydn. He never got that far – because his magnificent Fourth Symphony said all he wanted to say! Lahav Shani brings out all its tragedy and triumph, but only after he’s shown you exactly what Brahms was talking about, in Haydn’s joyous “Oxford” Symphony. Nicola Benedetti, meanwhile, begins our mini-cycle of Szymanowski violin concertos with the ravishing, fantastical Second.Support the CBSO


Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “Benedetti was here for the first episode in the orchestra’s survey of both Szymanowski Violin Concertos (perversely, here we were hearing the Second; the First comes on February 4, Baiba Skride playing).

Her bright-toned Strad weaved a sweetly melancholic thread, allied to biting bow-work which reinforced the music’s strong similarities to the two violin concertos of Prokofiev. She even managed a squinge of discreet re-tuning during the impressive central cadenza before moving towards the wonderfully exhilarating ending. After this her encore (the Sarabande from Bach’s D minor Partita) grounded us perfectly.

Shani drew sumptuous sounds from the CBSO, an orchestra well versed in Szymanowski, thanks to the long-term advocacy of Sir Simon Rattle.

We had begun with the music of another Rattle protege, Haydn, no less, and his Symphony no.92. Its nickname “the Oxford” alerts the listener to its many learned winks and nudges, but all the time it fizzes with energy, and charms with smiling melodies.”   …


Review by Peter Marks, Bachtrack:

Click here for full review

…    “The concerto is scored for a remarkably large orchestra, including five percussionists, a tuba, contrabassoon and orchestral piano. Szymanowski’s use of the latter in his violin concertos is particularly notable as few composers, even in the twentieth century, employed the orchestral piano in their concertos. Whilst the composer’s first concerto tends towards the impressionistic, the second is more assertive. It opens with a grumbling in that orchestral piano in an almost bluesy style. Benedetti adopted a suitably sultry tone in this first movement, managing to be heard even against the fullest orchestral accompaniment.

The movements in the concerto are contiguous but clearly distinct. The first two and last two movements are punctuated by a jaw-dropping cadenza almost entirely consisting of double-stopping. Benedetti traversed this with astonishing assuredness, even calmly tweaking her tuning along the way. The cadenza concludes, startlingly, with a huge crash from the orchestra, which conductor Lahav Shani timed to perfection. The third movement is rather militaristic and Benedetti was visibly enjoying the orchestral mayhem going on around her. She also noticeably engaged with her orchestral colleagues, particularly the leader. Benedetti was in total command of this concerto, as were Shani and the orchestra. ”     …


Camerata Salzburg and Nicola Benedetti play Mozart

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2014/15 Concert Package, SoundBite, Birmingham International Concert Season 2014/15 and Orchestral Music

Thursday 12th March

Symphony Hall

Camerata Salzburg
Ben Gernon conductor
Nicola Benedetti violin

Schönberg Waltzes for string orchestra 16’
Mozart Violin Concerto No 5, Turkish 31’
Bruckner Adagio from String Quintet in F major, arr for strings 13’
Mozart Symphony No 29 28’


Following his triumph in the 2013 Salzburg Festival conducting competition, Shropshire-born conductor Ben Gernon brings Camerata Salzburg, one of the world’s greatest chamber orchestras, to Birmingham.

Two of Mozart’s sunniest masterpieces are at the heart of this concert and with the hugely popular Nicola Benedetti as soloist, this promises to be a joyful evening of music.

Nicola Benedetti Plays Concertos for Christmas

Part of Christmas 2012 at THSH… more events…

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2012/13… more events…

Part of Entertaining Erdington… more events…

Sunday 9th December, 3pm

Town Hall

European Union Chamber Orchestra
Nicola Benedetti violin
Leonard Elschenbroich cello

Corelli Concerto Grosso in G minor, Christmas Concerto 15’
Vivaldi Cello Concerto in G minor RV 416 10’
Manfredini Concerto Grosso in F, Christmas Concerto 10’
Vivaldi Concerto for Violin & Cello in F RV 544 10’
Torelli Concerto in G minor, Christmas Concerto 10’
Handel Pastoral Symphony from Messiah 3’
Vivaldi Autumn and Winter from The Four Seasons 17’

Nicola Benedetti has established herself as one of the most charismatic of young performers: an international superstar with a major record contract and ‘the complete assurance of a mature soloist’ (The Independent). Together with the European Union Chamber Orchestra, she performs an exuberant baroque programme featuring delightful seasonal highlights: the peacefully pastoral Christmas Concertos of Corelli and his contemporaries, and Vivaldi’s popular Winter from The Four Seasons.


Review by Diane Parkes, BehindTheArras:

Click here for full review

…     “Benedetti then returned to round off the afternoon with two of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – Autumn and Winter. Her understanding and production of the pieces was impressive – you couldn’t help but wish she had time to add in Spring and Summer.

She bowed to the audience’s wishes for a short encore but returned to the Vivaldi, repeating an excerpt from Winter already played. Fair enough it was lovely but it was also a missed opportunity to dazzle the audience with a different piece of music.”     …



Review by Katherine Dixson, BachTrack:

Click here for full review

…     “Benedetti’s regular chamber music partner Leonard Elschenbroich presented our first Vivaldi of the day, the Cello Concerto in G minor, with beautiful tone and virtuosity. With delicate orchestral backing, Elschenbroich executed ascending and descending scales galore, fast and furious in the Allegro then controlled and lament-like in the Largo. Following the EUCO’s pretty rendition of Manfredini’s Christmas Concerto, Benedetti and Elschenbroich duetted in Vivaldi’s Concerto for violin and cello in F major, which has a subtitle that translates as “The world turned upside-down”. The composer had played a joke on his soloists by writing their parts in the wrong clef, but due to his skilful composition it was possible to swap parts; then, with a quick shift in pitch, it would work. Sounds a bit complicated to me, but there were certainly no issues this afternoon, just plenty of energy and verve, with the violin and cello interweaving and echoing, and extra texture added by the orchestra. The final Allegro clearly gave lots of scope for the soloists to show off, bringing the first half to a suitably upbeat conclusion.”     …

Benedetti plays Szymanowski

Wednesday 28 November 2012 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0603

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Kazushi Ono conductor
Nicola Benedetti violin

Dvořák: The Wood Dove 19′
Szymanowski: Violin Concerto No. 1 23′ Listen on Spotify
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra 35′ Listen on Spotify

Nicola Benedetti is surely one of Britain’s best-loved violinists – and no player is closer to Karol Szymanowski’s glittering First Violin Concerto, the piece with which she won BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2004. That’s the magic spell at the centre of this enchanted programme from guest conductor Kazushi Ono. First, though, there’s something scary in the woods in Dvorák’s sinister musical fairytale; then the whole CBSO takes the spotlight in Bartók’s life-affirming Concerto for Orchestra – music that wrings the heart even while it dazzles the ear.

Get a taste for the music here and watch Nicola Benedetti backstage at the Edinburgh Festival where she discusses her love of Polish composer Szymanowski. She will perform his Violin Concerto No. 1 with the London Symphony Orchestra as part of their series of Szymanowski concerts.

Nicola Benedetti’s Encore – Bach – Sarabande from Partita D Minor




Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “Nicola Benedetti brought impeccable intonation to the solo line of Szymanowski’s First Violin Concerto, a crucial element in such a crystalline work teeming with nocturnal imagery, perfumed with the aura of fin-de-siecle decay.

Gently oscillating melodic lines were matched by more energetic passages, Benedetti’s bowing so chippingly effective. But she was also able to command a persuasive stillness, always supported by the CBSO’s expressive collaboration. Her Sarabande from Bach’s D minor Partita made a welcome palate-cleanser of an encore – the best music we heard all evening.”     …

Tchaikovsky and Dvorák

Thu 29 Oct 7:30pm at Symphony Hall

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Jakub Hrusa conductor
Nicola Benedetti violin

Janáček Taras Bulba
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
Dvořák Symphony No 7

Style and authenticity just ooze from the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Dvořák himself conducted this orchestra’s first concert and the highlight of tonight’s programme is his grandly tragic Seventh Symphony. Superstar of the violin, Nicola Benedetti, is a regular visitor to Symphony Hall and joins the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s heart-warming Violin Concerto.

Review by Maggie Cotton, Birmingham Post:

“Impeccable woodwind, exquisite flute solo and careful accompanying from conductor Jakub Hrusa were perfect partners for muted violin, leading to a formidable finale taken at a spanking pace… 4/5”