Notes and Editorial Reviews
Both these works date from the 1940s; both, as Nigel Kennedy points out in his refreshingly direct notes, are inspired by their respective backgrounds and then encouraged to grow into bigger structures. But the most significant link in this well recorded coupling is the enthusiasm and imagination of Kennedy himself. It is the sense of coming to grips with the innermost character of the violin itself which makes this such a compelling programme; especially when the acoustic in turn takes you right inside the vibrating wood.
For Bartok, the energy generated from the glinting counterpoint and flinty chords in the Chanconne feeds even the Melodia and the remarkably even intensity of the darting Presto. For Ellington, Kennedy's voracious vitality is played off against Alec Dankworth's bass playing. Deliberately so, for Kennedy's arrangement of the big-band original has stimulus very much in mind: not only in the improvised sections based on the two-chord relationships from Come Sunday, but in the stability which Dankworth's bass gives Kennedy's fiddle to become totally engrossed in the brilliance of Ellington as melodist.'
-- Hilary Finch, The Gramophone