"Nigel Kennedy’s first recording of Beethoven’s Concerto, with Klaus Tennstedt, came from a live performance in 1992 (David K. Nelson gave almost a blow-by-blow account of it in 16:5). Kennedy recorded this new performance of the work, along with the program’s other repertoire from March 19–23, 2007, in the Jesus-Christus Kirche in Dahlem-Berlin. According to the SPARS code, the engineers captured Kennedy in his apparently preferred analog mode. The tempo in the first movement of Beethoven’s Concerto seems brisk enough at the outset, though the whole takes 24:36 (by way of comparison, in Heifetz’s version with Reiner, the movement lasts about 21 minutes; and in Kreisler’s with Blech, just 24 minutes—of course, a longer cadenza can eatRead more up a great deal of this time). Whatever the tempo (and David K. Nelson objected that Kennedy and Tennstedt had never settled on a basic one in their live performance), Kennedy brings forth a great deal of detail in the violin’s Viotti-like filigree, and he accentuates it with a relish that makes the above-mentioned versions sound plain-spoken by comparison. But he hasn’t lost sight of the forest for the trees (even in his own lightly edited version of Kreisler’s famous first-movement cadenza, replete as it may be with violinistic detail). The tutti passages may not thunder as they do in the recent hallmark recording by Vadim Repin (Deutsche Grammophon B0009663, 31: 4), yet they display ruddy good humor. The second movement begins breathlessly, but it’s no exercise in mystical rapture, despite Kennedy’s obviously reverent approach—the orchestra keeps him grounded (though the tempos remain slow and he nearly reaches stasis in the middle section). If his transitional cadenza between the slow movement and the finale seems to awaken listeners too abruptly from the former’s ruminations, the finale doesn’t stomp with folk-like mirth (except, perhaps, occasionally in some of the violin’s passagework), but recalls the first movement’s more variable approach. Kennedy’s very own cadenza to the finale, though it begins as almost an étude, later reintroduces the orchestra, over which it recalls thematic material in a highly rhythmic setting...Kennedy draws a rich, darkly syrupy sound from the lower strings of his violin and a bright, pure tone from the upper strings, especially in their higher registers...The orchestra seems to respond with alacrity to Kennedy’s musical ideas."
-- Robert Maxham, Fanfare Reviewing original release Read less
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 61by Ludwig van Beethoven