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4.7 out of 5 stars
31
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 9 August 2010
these violin concertos are among the most popular in the repertoire so it is a crowded field out there. These are early Kennedy but his style doesn't seem to have changed much. He can play prettily enough if he chooses but he seems to generally prefer a cool classical restraint (his playing, which rather belies his behaviour on stage) and purity of intonation over overt emotionalism or rich tonal colour. I find this makes his recordings easy to live with (I exclude his astringently rhythmic Vivaldi from this generalisation) but those who prefer a sweeter heart-on-sleeve approach would no doubt look elsewhere.

For myself, I find his recordings consistently reliable and this one fits with the general pattern.
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on 14 January 2012
Going by the album cover, showing that Kennedy prefers looking cool to dressing up, one might expect wild, rebellious playing. But things are quite the opposite though, with Kennedy favoring a laid back approach. He's actually a sensitive musician, surprising for someone who is clearly trying to win popularity with his eccentric appearance. Listening to this disc, I was impressed by his ability to play with touching, sincere lyricism. There's maturity here, and although he sometimes delivers bite (which I personally welcome), he's clearly going for the heart. In both of these warhorses, there are moments when he slows down and just lets the beauty of the music surround us. Personality is present without question, and while I think Kennedy can lean towards reticence, it's probably intentional.

As aforementioned, Kennedy can deliver bite. This isn't necessarily the same as drive, meaning that Kennedy isn't out to set your pulse racing. Sometimes Kennedy can seem to play with indifferent roughness, a quality I used to despise, but here I find myself liking it. In overplayed works like these, it's awfully easy to become bored, and anything new and out of the ordinary is welcome. And I should make it clear that Kennedy's bite is never rough to the point of sounding out of place, like on his famous Four Seasons recording. He has restraint; some would say he has too much.

The number one drawback for me was the lack of a premier orchestra to accompany Kennedy. Tate and the English Chamber Orchestra are competent performers, to be sure, but Kennedy completely overshadows them. Again, this may have been the point, but the whole effort would have been much more rewarding if Kennedy would have been playing with a top notch orchestra and conductor. I always thought Kennedy and Rattle fit like a hand and glove (they certainly do in their recording of the Elgar Violin Concerto), and Rattle would have made a superb collaborator. But we might as well enjoy what we do have, and Tate does give Kennedy suave, polished playing from the ECO, if not much more.

In closing, this is a fine disc. If you're a Kennedy fan, this CD is absolutely indispensible.
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on 13 October 2005
The bottom line with Nigel Kennedy's recording of these two classic concerti if that, if you like his style, you'll love this CD; if you don't, you won't. A full debate about the controversial violinist is well beyond the scope of an Amazon review but, basically, he has done to Mendelssohn and Bruch - the most common pairing of concerti to appear on a single disc - what he has already done for several of the violinist's repertoire, most recently the Four Seasons, which is reinterpret it in his own style. This either involves giving it new freshness and vigour or going totally over the top, depending on which camp you inhabit; there appears to be little or no middle ground.
Personally, I find Kennedy's style enjoyable only in very small doses - he does wring every ounce from the music, but it is rather like having chocolate cake the whole time: occasionally for dessert is nice, but one really wants something savoury for the other courses. One movement I can manage, two whole concerti give me heartburn and hyperglycaemia. So, if you like your classical music in yer face and on the max, this is for you; if not, can I recommend the technically brilliant and subtle Vengerov at less than half the price, the Hugget for those who want to know what it actually sounded like originally (nothing like Nigel, despite any claims to the contrary) or the sadly rare Zuckermann for those who want the definitive versions.
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on 15 January 2004
This cd really is a wonder. the mendelssohn and bruch concertos have never received such wonderful treatment as kennedy lavishes, in this all-round flawless cd. the pace of the pieces is just perfect, never rushed but never languid, and the technical skill of kennedy is, as ever, second to none. the intonation is absolutely spot on in all 3 performances. as for expression and tone, in my opinion no-one does it better than kennedy. just listen to the opening bars of the mendelssohn for evidence
those who dismiss kennedy as all image should listen to this and rethink. he really is a violin genius, and theres no clearer indication than on this disc. i cannot recommend it highly enough
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on 15 March 2013
First class recordings of first class music played by a master. efficient service, what more can you ask for? Pattie
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on 11 January 2015
.Didn't quite come up to expectations . It seemed a little hollow at first, not having the panache which Nigel always gives but it is an early recording and I probably expected too much. Bruch is such a beautiful concerto and I am sure there must be another recording out there which can pip this one
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on 5 March 2015
A wonderful CD. The music is sublime .
I truly appreciate the music of Bruch if you haven't listened to Kol Nidrae then I would recommend it.
The company Zoverstock to tops and the quality of the Cd excellent.
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on 13 June 2014
Unsealed CD with the cover damaged, which is a pity but the disc was undamaged. Exquisite renditions of Bruch's achingly beautiful and Mendelsohn's vibrant concerti. Joyous. Totally joyous.
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on 6 August 2013
I first heard the finale of this Concerto on Radio Classic, I had not heard any of this Composers work before I then listened again to it on Utube I liked the second and final movement best.
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on 1 May 2014
Great. I got this for my Mum as she loves Nigel Kennedy and she is thoroughly enjoying it. I haven't heard it myself but I know that Mum is pleased with it.
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