Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REINCARNATION
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,...
Published on 18 Oct 2005 by DAVID BRYSON

versus
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor but my choice was poor.
An old recording that lacked a great degree of fire from both orchestra and individuals - mainly due to Nigel's youth at that time
Published 15 months ago by Brian Truss


Most Helpful First | Newest First

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REINCARNATION, 18 Oct 2005
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Elgar: Violin Concerto in B Minor (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.
In fact it would be quite easy to work through the performance picking out highlights. The soloist's very first entry would be one - he has precisely 8 notes to make his mark, and I like Kennedy's way of doing it, businesslike I suppose in a sense, but self-assured. I also want to give proper due to the LPO under Handley, who has never, I suspect, been given quite the recognition he probably deserves. I know him in Elgar already, and I recommend his account of the Pomp and Circumstance marches warmly. Tempi throughout seem to me pretty well exactly right, most of all in the central andante which I think superbly judged, and drawing some particularly fine playing from the soloist. Whether any of this has anything to do with the English nationality of everyone concerned I simply couldn't say and prefer not to theorise about. This composer and this composition are big enough, surely, to transcend that sort of thing.
I like the liner-note, which is brief, simple and to the point. The recording strikes me as very good and well judged for Elgar's special sound, which is by no means easy to capture in recording, to judge by some such that I have heard at times. All in all, very recommendable indeed. If I were choosing a recording from the field that I know, I think this would be it at any price, let alone at this price. To any interested newcomers I'd say go right ahead. This disc could do you perfectly well for a very long time indeed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A performance that gets to the heart of Elgar's concerto., 8 May 2007
By 
Frank Beck (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Elgar: Violin Concerto in B Minor (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. This interpretation by Kennedy, accompanied with careful shaping and loving attention to detail by Vernon Handley, belongs in that exalted company.

I would recommend this disc as an ideal introduction to one of Elgar's finest works. If you already know the concerto from other recordings, Kennedy and Handley will open your ears to new wonders.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous, 16 Oct 2009
By 
Geoffrey Millar (Brunswick Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Elgar: Violin Concerto in B Minor (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kennedy on top form, 2 Aug 2009
This review is from: Elgar: Violin Concerto in B Minor (Audio CD)
When Nigel Kennedy's on top form he's hard to beat. This is a much better performance of Elgar's Violin Concerto than Kennedy's later version conducted by Simon Rattle largely because Vernon Handley is much better attuned to the score than Rattle - and Kennedy's playing is more innocent and less affected than in later years.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kennedy/Handley/ LPO - I was wowed!, 27 July 2011
By 
Mr. N. Hazell (Wales UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Elgar: Violin Concerto in B Minor (Audio CD)
This piece was long overdue for inclusion in my Classical collection. Unusually, I had never heard the piece before buying this CD. It did not disappoint.

I won't repeat the comments that others have already left, which helped me decide to buy it, but suffice to say that I concur with their opinions: this is great music, wonderfully performed, and an excellent recording to boot.

PS As you will see if you check out some of my other reviews, I am not that easily pleased!

PPS Just watched Tasmin Little playing this at the Proms. Staggering! You just have no idea how much this work demands of the player/s until you see it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor but my choice was poor., 3 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Elgar: Violin Concerto in B Minor (Audio CD)
An old recording that lacked a great degree of fire from both orchestra and individuals - mainly due to Nigel's youth at that time
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Elgar: Violin Concerto in B Minor
Elgar: Violin Concerto in B Minor by Edward Elgar (Audio CD - 2002)
Click for more info
Not in stock; order now and we'll deliver when available
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews