When you engage a solo recording artist to a lucrative multi-album deal just as the market is going into terminal decline, you need something more than worthy recordings of the Szymanowski Violin Concerto No 1 and works by Tavener and Vaughan Williams to generate a commercial return. Presumably that’s why hot young Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti’s recent albums for Universal have become increasingly more populist in their choices of repertoire, culminating in this most recent offering of film music, supplemented by concert music written by film composers.
Of course, getting a violinist of this calibre to play movie themes and aria transcriptions is like using your Porsche 911 to pick up the kids from school, but at least they let her include Korngold’s Violin Concerto as a point of difference between the glamorous 20-something and her middle-aged, mullet-coiffed Dutch stablemate within the Universal network (you know who).
Anyway, enough about how this CD sadly demonstrates how major-label recording contracts have become the artistic equivalent of virtuosos playing Memoryin cocktail bars for sedated listeners wallowing in their own misfortune.
John Williams’s Theme from Schindler’s Listgets things underway,...