Nigel Kennedy

Violin ConcertosI’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.


Oklahoman by birth. Angeleno by fate. I've been in half a dozen bands and own 25 cubic feet of old records. Thank God for Ikea shelves.

2 thoughts on “Nigel Kennedy

  1. I would never use the term pro-plebian as i don’t know what it means. also, it sounds just a little…i dunno…pretentious? Who you think yer foolin with this violin concerto thing anyway?

  2. Ha ha, it is pretty pretentious. It screams “I read Plato in college!”

    I think what I was trying to say is that Kennedy’s take on music is that music is a great unifier and should be enjoyed not by namby-pamby intellectuals, but by all classes of people as a purely aural experience. Maybe that’s simplifying his position, but…

    In my mind, great works can be enjoyed on many levels. But if you’re really into something, you’ll want to analyze how it makes you feel that way, and what parts are the best.

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