Top positive review
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Vivaldi brought to exciting, brilliant life
on 25 June 2013
Having worn out the vinyl version many years ago, I don't even own this any more - but it lives on in my head, as fresh, powerful, spiky and exciting as it was when I heard it in 1989. This album rekindled my fading interest in classical music, and to this day when I hear Four Seasons movements on the radio, I find it remarkably easy to single out his version from the sleep-inducing alternatives.
It's not musical memory so much as sense memory: it's how the playing makes me feel that tells me it's Kennedy. I neither know nor care about Kennedy the self-publicist - to me it was always the worst snobbery of the classical music world that assertive publicity was considered 'vulgar'. Why exactly should classical musicians don that black evening dress and disappear into the music, be subsumed by it? I like this version precisely because he doesn't disappear into the music. I simply can't believe Vivaldi wrote that spine-tinglingly virtuoso violin music for any but but the greatest of show-off musicians, and in Kennedy he has what I think he wrote for: Kennedy's Stradivarius, and Kennedy's enthusiasm, talent and ego, making something explosively strong and memorable.
I'm going to go and buy it again, not because I need to remember it, but just to show continued support for a world-class classical musician and his exciting (and continuing) pushing of the envelope, to the horror of purists.