Nigel Kennedy

February 20, 2004 at 07:17 AM · I was never really into him, because he is mainstream jazz violinist now...but i bought his sibelius violin concerto and it is AMAZING it might just be the best one I have...and his Bruch 1 is great too. anyone else like his classical recordings?

Replies (54)

November 21, 2003 at 03:55 AM · no

November 21, 2003 at 04:28 AM · I think he's a very good violinist. I have about 4 or 5 of his CDs and I enjoy them all. Even his 4 seasons.

November 21, 2003 at 05:12 AM · What Sibelius recordings have you heard?

November 21, 2003 at 09:53 AM · His delayed vibrato drives me up the wall... his Walton viola concerto is excellent, however.

November 21, 2003 at 03:56 PM · There was a Nigel Kennedy discussion like this a while back, so check there for additional comments. His Walton Violin Concerto, Walton Viola Concerto, and Elgar Concerto (both releases) are, in my opinion, his best recorded work.

November 21, 2003 at 05:14 PM · I've recently heard the 1st movement of the Sibelius and it's fine... In my opinion he doesn't deserve such rude comments.


November 21, 2003 at 07:11 PM · Aggree, George.

November 21, 2003 at 07:48 PM · i liked his grenados dances too.

November 21, 2003 at 10:40 PM · i wanna see him battle it out with vannesa mae...he'd OWN her

November 21, 2003 at 10:43 PM · I think his 'new' version of the 4 seasons by Vivaldi sound not much different to the original recordings.

November 21, 2003 at 11:19 PM · I'm a little confused by the reference to Nige (my family's pet name for him) as a mainstream jazz violinist... I confess, I'm not exactly au fair with his back catalogue, but I don't believe I've ever heard him trot out 'Autumn Leaves', and certainly wouldn't call his recent Vivaldi recording jazz.

November 22, 2003 at 10:10 AM · Who's rude? I agree that his Walton is exceptional. I prefer his viola concerto to Primroses' by a long shot...although he IS playing an audibly small viola( perhaps on loan from Sir Menuhin?), he gets a wonderful tone from it, and really understands the piece.Vanessa Mae is nowhere near being in his class, IMO.Her sexy poses don't make up for her studentish technic and musicianship in any way shape or form. Nigels' delayed vibrato in his Brahms, Beethoven, and elsewhere, I feel is extremely ill-advised and ruins many an otherwise pleasant moment.I hope his jazz has improved since I saw him playing with Mark O'Connor last time...probably has, since he has a good work-ethic.

November 22, 2003 at 03:06 PM · His interpretations are very unconventional sometimes. But he surely isn't a bad violinist. After all he studied with Yehudi Menuhin and Dorothy deLay

November 23, 2003 at 03:49 AM · N.C., you're saying all of DeLay's pupils were amazing?

November 23, 2003 at 09:36 AM · order to get lessons from delay...youde have to be VERY yes...they are all VERY GOOD

November 23, 2003 at 11:57 PM · Dan K you are actually wrong.

November 24, 2003 at 04:56 AM · Funny, I think I saw the same show just mentioned, in which Kennedy was playing Jazz and Mark O'Conner was in the back up band. I think it's great when classical musicians cross over into other areas of music but in this particular context it was obvious who the better Jazz musician was. So while I wouldn't care to listen to his Jazz again, I am really thankful he introduced me to Mark O'Conner.

Speaking of Jazz violin, If there is anyone here who's interested in it and who hasn't heard Stephan Grapelli yet, go get a recording right away. Just about everyone who has come after him is in his debt.

November 24, 2003 at 07:42 AM · The show I saw aired in the States around 1992; I remember them both side by side trading licks and yes, one players' were hot, the others' nought, not, and knot! I wonder what O'Connor could accomplish as a bowist /fiddler if he took his bow-grip to the next obligatory level...

November 24, 2003 at 11:31 AM · Greetings,

better still , try and get Grapelli and Django Rheinhart (sp) on the same disc,



November 24, 2003 at 08:45 PM · i don't think o'conner needs to mess with his bow grip at all, it works perfectly for what he plays.

November 24, 2003 at 11:35 PM · I heard Kennedy play Bach (live). It was excellent

January 25, 2004 at 02:46 AM · What do you all make of Kennedy's Tchaikovsky?

February 20, 2004 at 08:21 PM · you don't listen to him now, because he's a mainstream jazz musician...that sounds ridiculous. If a "mainstream classical soloist" went jazz, all the better, we're gonna get some shreddin' jazz

February 21, 2004 at 05:15 AM · I studied with DeLay; I wouldn't call myself amazing though.

February 21, 2004 at 10:01 PM · Greetings,

if you read 'Teaching Genius' I think it describes how DeLay had, at least until she became so irrevocably associated with the careers of a small number of superstars, a quite wide sesne of criteria for the kinds of students she took. At times it seems becuas ethey had some kind of strength of character she respected or in a few cases because theyhad talent but were in trouble. Also, I think if you accept the idea that it is not really possible to predict how a precocious child is going to turn out because of the random nature of physical development then she really did teach a lot of people who just had poential then turned out to be duds.



February 21, 2004 at 10:07 PM · Greetings,

and on the subject of Kennedy, I have heard him play well. Some of his recordings are very highly rated and so on. Nor do I have anythign against -crossover- or whatever you want to call it. I mean, people like me pontificate about developing diversity of mind lifestyle and so on. How can we object to different kind s of music....?

However, when the diversity changes into posturing I los e interest and as far as I am cocnerned that is where Kenedy has got to now. Not in the playing, but in trying to be a bit of rough. (Sometimes you just have to accept that you were born in the green belt of upper middle class parents who speak with prunes in their mouths...)

For example, he appears across the cover of many popular Japanese magazines this month playing the violin in a sleeveles leather vest open at the chest (no medallion I"m afraid), punk hair do and about four days of stubble. You can practically smell the BO coming across the newspaper stand. All the blurb reads about this classical violnist etc etc. I have no wish to see the instrument I love degraded in this way.

Then there are examples of behaviour such as the recent allegations of sexual abuse of students at te Menuhin school. No names mentioned, no serious inetent to pursue somethign that should be pursued if true rather than sensation seeking. Or he gets banned from playing with European orchestras for behaving badly in rehearsals and trashing hotel rooms while the media (including my old friend the Strad) happily report all this stuff because it is Nige so that kind of makes it a good larf.

Auer washed his hands before playing and although that is over the top it is an attitude that is worth aiming for,



February 22, 2004 at 12:06 AM · hey - I bet Mutter's sibelius is better.. hehe :)

February 22, 2004 at 12:06 AM · Dan - All i know is that Chaffs told me all about Nigel Kennedy, so right there, he loses a couple of cool points, if you know what i mean.. Aimee is no longer a bunny, by the way.

February 22, 2004 at 01:05 AM · aimee the bunny - mutter's sibelius is like my tchaikovsky ;)

Heifetz owns the bruch and sibelius

May 8, 2004 at 02:45 AM · What a punk!!!!!!!!!!!!

His classical recordings don't project top artist qualities. He lacks much musicallity.

What an awesome jazz violinst though.

May 8, 2004 at 08:14 AM · id have to agree...i believe he was just on a journey to find his real calling and i think hes found it. classical doesnt seem natural from him, but i have his jazz cd and its enjoyable!

May 8, 2004 at 02:39 PM · Well I personally like watching him play because I feel more relaxed. He doesn't really seem to give about making mistakes so I can just sit back instead of sitting up in my chair waiting till he makes a mistake. And I think its completely wrong when people judge people's playing because of how punky they are or what kind of trashy behavior they pull out. It's different whether you respect the player and whether you like the player or not. It's just like the different genre's of music, some people (many classical players) don't like rap or rock (and vice versa) but when people don't have any respect for it...then I think music's heading in the wrong direction. Sorry about the detour but yeah as I was saying, a lot of people look at Kennedy's CD covers and are like what a disgrace and they're turned off by it when really his playing's amazing.

May 8, 2004 at 03:05 PM · I have to agree. I think Kennedy's playing is great, even though I don't like his CD cover's. His recording of the Londenderry Air is one of the best I've heard, close to Kreisler's recording, and his Meditation is played extra drawn out, but just beautiful. I think he plays the way he feels, instead of following certain rules that have been passed down thru the generations, jusy my opinion.

May 8, 2004 at 03:05 PM · I have to agree. I think Kennedy's playing is great, even though I don't like his CD cover's. His recording of the Londenderry Air is one of the best I've heard, close to Kreisler's recording, and his Meditation is played extra drawn out, but just beautiful. I think he plays the way he feels, instead of following certain rules that have been passed down thru the generations, jusy my opinion.

May 8, 2004 at 03:23 PM · Kennedy's Sibelius is a fresh take on the concerto. The sound of the work is completely different from others of old. Pretty nice stuff.

May 8, 2004 at 06:24 PM · i'm not sure why so many people detest him, he's got many great recordings, both classical and otherwise. his original four seasons album set a record for best selling classical cd ever.

May 8, 2004 at 09:24 PM · Greetings,

Kennedy seems to be an out of control and rather destructive talent but ththere is enough evidence of artistry in some of the stuff he does to engeneder some respect, be it classical or the other doofrrewhatsit..

The bestselling recording of the Vivaldi was complete garbage to me.It crossed so far over the boundry of limits that we are obliged to acknowledge as part of the discipline of musicianship itbecame a travesty. It is a bestseller as far as I am concerned because we Brits , having lost the empire, (or at least temporarily mislaid it) are happy to embrace anyhing trivial and worthless in an effort to prove that nothing really matters, to me. (To, me. Mama, oo, oo, oo. Didn't mean to make you cry...if I'm not back this time tomororw etc)



May 9, 2004 at 12:26 AM · Funny, Buri, I just yesterday bought my sister a live Queen DVD for Mother's Day (she is a Freddie fan from WAY back)..

May 9, 2004 at 09:54 AM · Greetings,

I was born on the same street as him...



May 9, 2004 at 03:38 PM · ...and I drove the car...

May 11, 2004 at 02:45 AM · To Zanzibar??

May 11, 2004 at 03:09 AM · Greetings,

nah. Mattias used to hang out in very insalubrious places before he got married,



May 11, 2004 at 03:37 AM · "insalubrious"

Hey, that is not in my dictionary!

Is it an compliment?

May 11, 2004 at 03:53 AM · Greetings,

yes, but keep it from your wife.



May 11, 2004 at 03:55 AM · According to the Stephane Grappelli DVD "A Life in the Jazz Century" Kennedy met and played with Stephane Grappelli when he was a 13 year old student at Menuhin's school. He was captivated by the possibilities of jazz violin and Grappelli's inimitable style. He was also seen in the video of the "This is Your Life" tribute to Grappelli, so you get the feeling that there was a special bond between the two. In fact, John Etheridge who played guitar for Grappelli went on to play in Kennedy's band after Grappelli's death.

The only Nigel Kennedy recording I've heard was on a video performance of The Four Seasons. It sounded fine to me, although the setting was definitely unorthodox. I haven't heard him play jazz, but I can't imagine anybody today holding their own with Mark O'Connor who actually recorded Tiger Rag with Grappelli when he was 18 and did a fine job of trading improvisational licks with the master.

May 11, 2004 at 05:58 PM · i love his sound and articulation int eh four seasons, and some of hte interpretations are good, some of the rubato is absolutely ludicrous though. His later recording is better but still a little ridiculous at times.

May 12, 2004 at 02:35 AM · Ok, well, I'm still figuring out the Freddie connection, Buri and Mattias, but I'm impressed nonetheless and I quite like the word 'insalubrious'.

May 12, 2004 at 05:15 AM · i need to look that up

May 15, 2004 at 01:06 AM · I dont really like his playing...

June 14, 2004 at 10:25 PM · I heard a clip of his Zigeunerweisen and the interpretation was quite vomit-worthy.

July 18, 2014 at 03:52 PM · @Buri: "Auer washed his hands before playing",

and so do I, having religiously done so ever since I can remember. It was a habit ingrained into me as a small child by my parents before I was allowed to sit at the piano to do my daily practice. I know now there was a bit more to it than avoiding getting jammy finger marks on Dad's Bechstein; washing the hands significantly helps relaxation, especially if there is a lot of vigorous hand and finger movement during the washing.

July 18, 2014 at 04:24 PM · I think Nige is a fine player and his Brahms concerto with Tendstedt is one of the finest. People do not listen to the sound, and all they see is the unusual clothes and the London accent.

And yes, I do agree John, Buri has gone down somewhat in my estimation since reading his earlier posts.

Maybe those others taking the p*** should learn to play as well as Nige and then maybe they can comment, and then we may respect their views.

July 18, 2014 at 09:30 PM · I think kennedy is a great violinist. The showmanship, well, he can keep that but his ponticello in the P&A thrilled me. Maybe as Buri said he has come to revel too much in the bad boy image, but he's got game.

If you want to hear good Sibelius try Julian Sitkovetsky.

July 25, 2014 at 12:00 PM · Moiseiwisch stayed with my piano teacher Nesta Franklyn when he gave concerts in Bristol, using one of her studios for pre-concert practice (often playing at quarter-speed, incidentally). Daisy Kennedy, his wife, was a relative of Nigel Kennedy. This is yet another example of how few links are needed to establish a connection, however tenuous, between unlikely connected people. National security organizations are of course well aware of the phenomenon ;)

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