I’ve been digging piano concertos recently, so thought I’d branch out into violin concertos.
In getting this collection of Tchaikovsky and Sibelius concertos, I basically stumbled onto the punk rock Yo Yo Ma in the form of Nigel Kennedy, the lead violinist here. A little research shows him to be quite the anti-intellectual, or at least the pro-plebian–the cover of this otherwise standard EMI release says “just listen…” on it, and the inner blurb says that writers who pigeon-hole music with words are “being arrogant enough to be paid for limiting the reader’s perception of music… by implanting ideas in their head.” And on YouTube he seems equally at home leading an orchestra in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or playing somewhat dodgy accompaniment to Donovan or Robin Gibb.
Anyhoo, I do have to say that his rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto in D” is aggressive and sensational, so I’ll be giving this a lot of repeat listenings.
In other news, apparently I’m the last to know that Tchaikovsky was gay? Despite my best attempts to plunge into classical music of all stripes, I’m still groping in the dark even with the most famous composers’ histories. Or maybe it’s just that arcane, obscure bits of music fascinate me so much that the obvious things elude me.