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The Benedetti Bomb

img  Tobias

Record company executives of the Deutsche Gramophon had been extremely cautious not to exagerate expectations before releasing Nicola Benedettis new album. They were supposedly aiming for 30.000-50.000 copies and Mark Wilkinson, head of Universal Classics UK even claimed he'd be happy with a few thousand copies in the first weeks on sale. We at mouvement nouveau find these low-key forecasts somewhat strange - hadn't the company just payed 1 Million Pounds for Bendettis next few CDs? Interesting they should think it ok for the musician they believe to be a "once in a generation artists" to do it just for art's sake. Anyway, all anticipations were smashed to pieces by the devastating impact of the album on UK charts - it stormed the Classical Charts at 2 and even managed to enter the regular Top 75 - both records for a violinist.

Just one week earlier, she had staged a small concert in honour of the album's launch at Glasgow's Virgin Megastore, drawing a crowd of 200. At the event, she once again spoke about her desire to fight the snobbery in the Classical Music business (something Myleene Klass complained about just a month earlier) and to do for classical music "what Jamie Oliver had done for school meals".
The marketing plan to acchieve just that has already been written and aims at building Benedettis career in Scotland first, before moving on to the UK and then Europe and  finally the States. Scotland's press has already become quite fond of their talented sibbling (who is actually three-quarter Italian) and there is hardly a newspaper which hasn't reported about her.

But even at this early stage (and without any ado of the marketing gurus!) the British press is joining in. The Sunday Times has even published a story on Nicola in their travel section - Benedetti gets to tell of her St. Tropez vacation, which she, surprise!, spent practising the violin most of the day, while watching everyone else having fun. It has to be said that the article actually gives some interesting background information, as she explains why a visit to a Zulu Tribe once made her cry and that travelling in general opened her mind and changed her approach to playing.

All of this has apparently not only impressed school girls aiming to play the violin themselves, but also some of the world's rich and famous. Reportedly, a business man has payed 100.000 Pounds to have the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra perform Janacek's Sinfonietta to his girl friend, with Nicola in the lead.

Where there's success, there's always critics, but there's also those with good advice: The Herald kindly reminds the star that her repertoire is still limited and that she should take care as record companies will want back their investments. The paper characterises Benedettis first album as "unremarkable" and a package to please everyone. They're afraid that the Deutsche Gramophon intends on selling an artists here, regardless of the music. Don't forget, however, that Benedetti claims she actually has the right to choose repertoire herself.

Finally, some nice words come from Vanessa Mae, a former superstar herself. She warned Nicola to not let all the praise and her abilities as a peformer get to her head and focus on improving her weaknesses instead. Her focus should be long-term and she should be asking: "How can I make my mark on the world, how can I be remembered?"

Already now, Nicola Benedetti is giving us something to remember: The hope that she could actually be for real, that despite her companies overt flirt with a Cross-Over market, ringtones and trends, here could be an artist who has the conviction to actually take things into her own hands, once she has the power to. If that means compromising from time to time and smiling into the camera, so be it.

Source: Scotsman
Source: Scotsman
Source: The Herald
Source: Sunday Times
Source: Gulf Times
Source: The Herald
Source: Daily Record

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