London Philharmonic Orchestra
Nicola Benedetti, violin
It's surprising, in many respects, that nobody has thought to programme Vaughan Williams and Tavener on disc before, since Tavener's music is certainly a manifestation of a strand of mysticism that runs through English music and takes in not only Vaughan Williams but Holst, Elgar, Bantock, Foulds and Tippett....Lalishri is a substantial four-movement work (more than half an hour) that would certainly qualify for the title 'concerto' did Tavener employ such terms. The mystical element here connects perhaps more with Holst than Vaughan Williams, in so far as its originis are Indian. Laila Yogishwari, a fourteenth-century Hindu poetess and philosopher who 'danced naked under the vaults of heaven', is the figure commemorated here, and Tavener goes out of his way to celebrate her 'passionless passion', the violin standing for her soul and her nakedness. The eternal feminine is not a new concept in Tavener's work, but Lalishri is perhaps the most overt, adn certainly the longest, meditation on the concept in his output until now. It is a piece of frequently astounding beauty, including, as with so many other among Tavener's recent compositions, his own reaction to, and transformations of, Dhrupad music...but its oriental inspiration never obscures the fact that it is also a genuinely English-sounding work, something emphasized by having been prefaced by the Vaughan Williams.
Ivan Moody, International Record Review, 12/1/2007
',,,In the violin concerto Lalishri and its companion piece Dhyana the sheer seductive beauty of the sound is hard to resist. And although there are plenty of ideas that repeat, there's also plenty of well-calculated, balanced variety, while the athletic liveliness of some of the extended dance sections (at several points surprisingly recalling Tippett) will startle those who think they have tavener's more recent manner comprehensively taped. In fact Lalishri in particular is full of surprises, not least Tavener's feeling for the violin both as a singer and as virtuoso soloist. Hard as it may be to imagine Tavener writing a concerto in the traditional sense, that's often what Lalishri feels like....'
Stephen Johnson, BBC Music Magazine, 10/1/2007