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Kennedy should be proud of this.
on 12 October 2012
I can't recall where I read it but Nigel Kennedy apparently disliked this recording. For a simple listener like me, that's hard to understand but then, what do I know? I used to date a soprano and I remember how distraught she once was about her performance in a Vivaldi recital despite the universally ecstatic audience response. Artists are often their own worst critics. This recording dates from when Kennedy was at the height of his fame and I presume he had the best of everything at his disposal - recording personnel, equipment, acoustic environment, as well as lots of time with conductor and orchestra, the sum of which seems apparent to me in the technical quality of the final product. I love how clearly you can here Kennedy's breathing and his fingertips tap-tapping on the neck of his instrument during the 1st movement cadenza. (As a side note, I personally really like Kennedy's cadenza from this period, compared with the standard Joachim cadenza).
I can only assume Kennedy's dissatisfaction related to his interpretation of the piece, the nuanced execution which to any mortal listener may sound brilliant but which to the artist, climbing an ever flattening curve towards the unattainable summit of perfection, is beneath his aspirations. All I know is that, for me, the listening experience of this recording is sublime.