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Elgar: Violin Concerto in B Minor CD


Price: £9.99
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Elgar: Violin Concerto in B Minor + Vivaldi: Four Seasons + Classic Kennedy
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Product details

  • Performer: Kennedy
  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Vernon Handley
  • Composer: Edward Elgar
  • Audio CD (4 Mar. 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00005YU9O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,262 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. I. Allegro
2. II. Andante
3. III. Allegro molto - Cadenza (accompagnata: Lento) - Allegro molto (Tempo I)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Oct. 2005
Format: Audio CD
Nigel Kennedy has reinvented his image nearly as often as Madonna has. This performance dates from1984 when, if I recall accurately, he was still in his punk phase, but on the liner he is referred to simply and grandly as 'Kennedy', in much the way one might refer to Heifetz. In my own opinion he is just as entitled to this uninominal styling and, in my own opinion again, he plays this great concerto better than Heifetz himself does.
Quite possibly indeed he plays it better than anyone does. I continue to like and admire my LP version from Zuckerman with Barenboim and the same orchestra as Kennedy has here, but this account has something special about it. Moreover here it is on a budget label, and that finally propels it to the top of my own choices among current versions that I know. Elgar's violin concerto to me is a very great piece of music indeed. It is on an epic scale for a concerto - well over 50 minutes in length, with outer movements (particularly the last) as long as typical movements in the Mahler symphonies and a slow movement on the scale of the very largest by Beethoven or Mozart. Among concertos for the violin I personally rate it second only to Brahms's, meaning by that soberly and literally that I rate it ahead of Beethoven's. It is not an easy work from either the technical or the interpretative point of view. Its very length is one problem, notably in the last movement where the so-called 'cadenza' taking more than half the duration of the movement - a quiet interlude at a slow tempo largely harking back to the material of the first movement - needs the right kind of player if it is going to make the right kind of impact. In this performance it goes off very well indeed, starting with the famous but quiet 'pizzicato tremolo' effect clearer than it often is.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Frank Beck on 8 May 2007
Format: Audio CD
Elgar played the violin himself, and this concerto is his greatest gift to his fellow violinists. When he composed the work in 1909 and 1910, there were already many concertos that gave room for virtuosic playing. Elgar did something different: he created a score that does not so much show what the violin can do as reveal all that it can say.

Here the solo violin yearns, rejoices, pleads and consoles, and then, in one of the most original cadenzas ever written for any instrument, it takes up many of the previous themes and views each familiar melody in an utterly new way. Basil Maine, Elgar's first biographer, said it best when he remarked that most cadenzas call for the soloist to step into the limelight. Elgar instead asks the player to step back into the twilit world of deepest introspection. In the hands of the right instrumentalist, the cadenza will have an audience holding its breath and the closing coda will provide a thrilling release.

Kennedy shows from his first entrance that he is at one with the concerto's elusive spirit. The first movement allegro is urgent and compelling. The andante unfolds as a gentle nocturne that rises to moments of more intimate intensity. Kennedy then brings a bracing lyricism to the third movement, which seems to be moving inexorably to a conventional conclusion when the orchestra retreats and leaves him and his violin, with only the frailest string accompaniment, to their musings. As Elgar wrote to the concerto's chief inspiration, Alice Stuart Wortley, 'the music sings of memories and hope.'

The first-rank recordings of this work stretch over nearly 80 years, beginning with Albert Sammons' landmark 1929 performance, and including two studio recordings by Yehudi Menuhin, one with the composer conducting.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey Millar on 16 Oct. 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is a great recording.

The combination of Nigel Kennedy with the late Vernon Handley - to my ears one of the best ever conductors of English music - results in one of the best available performances of this work. Kennedy's playing is superb and his tone really suits the work.

The sound and dymamic range of the recording are full without being over the top and the CD is great value, about the price of a decent coffee.
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