The Violin Channel recently caught up with Scottish violin soloist Nicola Benedetti - in the midst of her North American tour as soloist with the Venice Baroque Orchestra.
The 13-city 'Vivaldi' tour ranging from Berkeley to Baltimore to Toronto - and including her downtown L.A. debut at Los Angeles' Walt Disney Hall on February 26th with music of Vivaldi, Geminiani and more.
'After 6 hours of rehearsing 9 challenging Vivaldi concertos, we ended with this - and a sore arm. No official jargon - these musicians open up a new musical world for me, full of trust and risk. I am so so excited for this tour '
Posted by Nicola Benedetti on Saturday, 11 February 2017
"A major part of the programme for this tour is the Four Seasons alongside other violin concertos by Vivaldi - how are you feeling about this?"
"Can’t wait, really! As has been in the case in every other time I’ve worked with the Venice Baroque Orchestra Founder Andrea Marcon most of the repertoire is new. Every time we’ve agreed on a collaboration with a new orchestra, he’s given me a new set of five or six concertos to play."
"How do you go about preparing such an iconic work as, say, the Four Seasons?"
"I waited a good 15 years before I ever performed a single movement of the Four Seasons. The key is: Don't overpractice! It’s not so hard to find fresh inspiration with this orchestra, just being around them - the way they draw sound, the way they breathe together, how percussive their collective sound is. It’s like there’s an engine - there’s this infectious energy they have."
"You’ve worked quite intensively with the ensemble, their Founder Andrea Marcon, and with Rachel Podger as well. How has your playing and approach to a Baroque work like this changed in recent times?"
"I wouldn’t usually do this, but a couple of weeks ago I went back and listened to my old recording - there’s an element of it I just hear as timid now, in comparison to how I would approach a similar style today. I think I’m far more aggressive, assured, not so careful."
"Now, on a different note, you’ve recently premiered world-renowned jazz trumpeter and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Wynton Marsalis’ “Violin Concerto in D”. How did you go about preparing it, and what were the similarities and differences between preparing this and an established work like the Four Seasons?"
"In preparing this, it was more similar than you might think, in that you’re stepping into a world that seems far away from yours. The difference, naturally, was that in preparing Marsalis’ concerto there was someone I could ask, “Should I do this, should I do that?”
"Wynton mentioned that he drew some inspiration for this concerto from the Baroque concerto form. Now, playing these two works in the same season, do you see any similarities between them?"
"Violinistically, in the sense of argument between soloist and orchestra."
"You’re coming back to New York in April for the NYC debut of your piano trio at the 92Y, which we’re very excited about. Could you tell us some more about it?"
"The program includes the Ravel violin sonata, the Debussy cello sonata, a Turnage duo and the Tchaikovsky trio. People will hear every type of sound that can come out of those three instruments."
"What a great program! Thank you so much for spending some time with us, Nicola. We look forward to catching you soon!"