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Nicola Benedetti - Shostakovich & Glazunov / Post-Bulletin review

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Two extremes of the Russian concerto repertoire come together on this album, and Shostakovich wins. His Violin Concerto No. 1, perfectly described in the program notes as "coruscating," was composed just after World War II, premiered almost a decade later, and it's a miniature of all the composer's best music -- dark and profound, absurd and charming, intellectual but intensely musical. It's demanding, nonstop work for the soloist, and 29-year-old Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti is up to the task. From the ominous opening bars and the composer's musical signature in the scherzo, through to the probing cadenza in the third movement and the "Burlesque" finale, Benedetti displays amazing technique and craftsmanship, as well as a sensitivity to Shostakovich's deepest thoughts.