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Nigel Kennedy: Vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi, Members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra [members]
Nigel Kennedy: Vivaldi
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #1

Not content with having produced one wildly successful recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons in 1989, Nigel Kennedy, irrepressible enfant terrible of the violin world, apparently decided it was time for another version to di...  more »

     
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Amazon.com
Not content with having produced one wildly successful recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons in 1989, Nigel Kennedy, irrepressible enfant terrible of the violin world, apparently decided it was time for another version to display the new insights and ideas he had gained during those years. And indeed the differences are far-reaching and fundamental. The old version was relatively conventional, faithful to the score in text and spirit, with moderate tempi and no exaggerations. The new version's motto might be "everything to excess": tempi, tempo changes, dynamics. The sound effects are realistic to nature, but unnatural to string instruments, and there is a lot of scratching in the loud, vigorous sections. Perhaps in a nod to baroque practice, there are swells on the long notes, crescendos and decrescendos on ascending and descending lines, unvibrated passage, and long pauses before final notes. This is the first of a multi-disc collaboration between Kennedy and the musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic, called "The Vivaldi Project," and it is interesting that these famously tradition-conscious, staid players seem quite comfortable with his iconoclastic approach. Phrasing, articulation, and spirit are remarkably unanimous; the balance is fine with very strong cellos and basses. In the two double concertos--one famous, one unknown, both delightful--whose fast movements are taken at break-neck speed, the concertmaster matches Kennedy in verve and virtuosity, no mean feat. In spite of all his excesses, Kennedy's playing is superb; his technique is brilliant, his tone has a beguiling, aching sweetness. He is in his element in the improvisations; indeed they sometimes take on a life of their own. The most convincing, satisfying parts are the slow movements: played with unspoiled simplicity, deep expressiveness, and repose, they speak straight to the heart. Here, one feels, is where the real Kennedy comes out. --Edith Eisler

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CD Reviews

OK Double...Mediocre Seasons
requiemguardian | West Coast | 05/06/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"What I have always liked about Kennedy was his in-your-face type of playing. It oftentimes is accompanied with interesting interpretation of the piece and infinite energy. However, in the seasons, after I listened into the last movement of the Summer, I was a little fatigued by his brash, marcato playing. It was exciting for the first few minutes...Then suddenly became dull. His slow movements are extremely exaggerated, as if thinking we won't get the point of the movement if it is delivered subtlely. I must say, his Autumn is quite hilarious (in a good way), giving it a jazzy feel with the sudden rhythm changes (not indicated in the music...)What I like about this CD is his double concerto interpretation. The A Minor is extremely testosterone-driven. I have heard many recordings where the sound and performance fall flaccid from either bad recording or bad players. Here, the tempo is fast enough to keep you interested, but not so fast as to make you think you're hearing noise instead of music. His last movement (regularly taking 4:00+ to play...his time: under 2.5) had the feel of a live performance.The other double concerto is a rather obscure one by Vivaldi. It is a mediocre piece with drastic, operatic scoring that really doesn't fit Kennedy's playing."
Thrilling!
01/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"kennedy's rendition is thrilling. it's crisp and excites-moves the blood. i love the album. my only critique is that when he alternates solo violin with orchestra, the orchestra sounds muted and as if it was a mistake that took place on the sound board regulating the volume. however with that said, i keep going back to listen over and over, louder and louder. magnificent playing."
Wow
Dobromir Tsanev | Safety Harbor, FL, USA | 01/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One more time wow, when I noticed the four season's on the label of the CD, I thought, I already have this, let me hear something new, but he made it sound like never before. Nigel is GREAT!
I went to buy vivaldi II right way.
I can listen to it all day!"