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Main » 2010 » December » 2 » NIGEL KENNEDY - Vivaldi- The Four Seasons [Quattro Stagioni]
NIGEL KENNEDY - Vivaldi- The Four Seasons [Quattro Stagioni]

1. Concerto No. 1 In E Major, 'La primavera' RV269: I. Allegro 
2. Concerto No. 1 In E Major, 'La primavera' RV269: II. Largo 
3. Concerto No. 1 In E Major, 'La primavera' RV269: III. Allegro 
4. Concerto No. 2 In G Minor 'L'estate' RV315: I. Allegro non molto 
5. Concerto No. 2 In G Minor 'L'estate' RV315: II. Adagio 
6. Concerto No. 2 In G Minor 'L'estate' RV315: III. Presto 
7. Concerto No. 3 In F Major 'L'autunno' RV293: I. Allegro 
8. Concerto No. 3 In F Major 'L'autunno' RV293: II. Adagio molto 
9. Concerto No. 3 In F Major 'L'autunno' RV293: III. Allegro 
10. Concerto No.4 In F Minor 'L'Inverno' RV297: I. Allegro non molto 
11. Concerto No.4 In F Minor 'L'Inverno' RV297: II. Largo 
12. Concerto No.4 In F Minor 'L'Inverno' RV297: III. Allegro

Audio CD (September 16, 1997) 
Number of Discs: 1 
Label: EMI Classics 
ASIN: B000002RXL

I can't fathom why some would praise this particular performance so highly when it is singularly one of the worst performances and misinterpretations of this lyrical Italian Baroque piece presently in the repertoire in terms of both solo and orchestral apects. This is a lyrical piece depicting pastoral images of the seasons with sheperds, peasant dances, and storms, and therefore one of the most technically demanding for a solo violinist. Kennedy has absolutely no talent, method, or discipline for both his interpretation and performance of this piece. Ouch! Although he pretends to, Kennedy essentially has no idea what he is playing and it's painful to hear his confusion! Is it an Italian Baroque lyrical piece? A Scottish dance? An Irish jig? Who knows?! All I know is it hurts enough hearing it not to mention listening to it.

Besides the orchestral interpretations such as Karajan's or those with vituosos such as Perlman, I haven't heard many Baroque interpretations besides I Musici di Roma's that sound any good in traditional performances either outside of Salvatore Acardo's with I Solisti delle Settimane Musicali di Napoli and those of a few other Italian groups primarily. The only singularly outstanding performance I can think of is Pina Carmirelli's 1982 performance with I Musici Di Roma. Although I Musici breaks some Italian Baroque traditions for Italian Romantic ones, they are minor and the group have been the best in their class for 50 years and praised by greats such as Toscanini for being singularly the best Baroque chamber group in the world. In addition to their Italian traditions in performance and as with Acardo's performance, they also play only on Stradivari instruments that other Baroque groups rarely ever play solo and even less in quantities. I don't know too much about Kennedy's formal training and practice (if any), but from the sound of it, it doesn't seem to me that he has ever played a Stradivrarius or that he could even if he had one in his hands and tried his best. He would then at least in this way be close to par with just the average professional classical lead violinists out there which he is not. I will therefore not talk in detail of his comparison to virtuosos whose worst renditions of this piece still sound epic in comparison to Kennedy's 'spellbinding' performance.

Kennedy's performance is definitely the very bottom of the performance pit for this piece by any standard and one I would never personally recommend to a friend as I would consider such a thing to be auditory torture. To shoppers generally unfamiliar with classical music performance, I tell you that you are shopping in the basement now looking into the disposal bins as far as this piece or classical violinists. There are also many basement floors for interpretations of this work before you get to the top which is the only place you'll find the prized performances you desire and deserve for your money. In addition, you will there find selections in talent by the only competent artists who can even come close to properly performing this vigorous and demanding lyrical piece. What you will not find up there is mediocrity appearing talented which is what you have with this performance! There's a big difference believe me. With probably no more than ten epic performances of this piece, this performance would probably not make it anywhere near even the top 100 and I'm in all likelihood seriously underestimating in this assumption.

EAC extraction logfile from 4. March 2007, 11:41 for CD  
NIGEL KENNEDY / Vivaldi: The Four Seasons [Quattro Stagioni]  

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