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Nigel Kennedy

Vivaldi - The New Four Seasons

Sony Masterworks

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Interview with Nigel Kennedy (violin)
1 Spring: 1 Melodious Incantation  
2 Spring: 2 Transitoire #  
3 Spring: 3 The Goatherd Sleeps With His Trusty Dog Beside Him  
4 Spring: 4 Transitoire ##  
5 Spring: 5 Nymphs And Shepherds Dance  
6 Summer: 6 Destiny  
7 Summer: 7 Transitoire #  
8 Summer: 8 Fear  
9 Summer: 9 Transitoire ##  
10 Summer: 10 His Fears Are Only Too True  
11 Autumn: 11 The Peasant Celebrates The Rich Harvest  
12 Autumn: 12 Transitoire #  
13 Autumn: 13 Pleasure Of Sweetest Slumber  
14 Autumn: 14 Transitoire ##  
15 Autumn: 15 Horns, Guns, And Dogs  
16 Winter: 16 Prolitoire #  
17 Winter: 17 To Shiver, Frozen  
18 Winter: 18 The Rain Outside  
19 Winter: 19 Transitoire #  
20 Winter: 20 Walk On The Ice  
21 Winter: 21 The End  
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In 1989 Nigel Kennedy made his breakthrough recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. In his sleeve notes to that famous release, Kennedy stressed that he had rejected the idea of playing Vivaldi's suite of violin concertos in either the "authentic" fashion, using period instruments, or in the more florid "romantic" style. He explained that his objective was to use "every kind of technique I know" to communicate his feeling for the music to his listeners. He didn't believe that The Four Seasons was confined to any particular point in time, because it "has far more to offer than mere historical interest."

Now, in 2015, Kennedy returns with a completely fresh take on The Four Seasons, but while the music sounds hugely different, his creative attitude is the same. Once again he has set out to prove that The Four Seasons is timeless, and in his opinion there's no reason why Vivaldi's masterpiece shouldn't be opened up to embrace developments in musical instrument technology, or even new musical styles undreamt of in Vivaldi's 18th century world. Any forward-looking composer, Kennedy reasons, would have been delighted to exploit the potential of more expressive or sophisticated instrumentation if it had been available to him.

Kennedy's fans have already had a chance to hear The New Four Seasons in concert, so some of the musical innovations crammed into this new recording will seem familiar. Integral to the Kennedy approach is the drum programming of Massive Attack's Damon Reece, which adds a mesmerizing rhythmic pulse underneath the crisply-articulated playing of Kennedy's Orchestra of Life. This hand-picked ensemble of enthusiastic young musicians, under orchestra leader Lizzie Ball, is an extension of Kennedy's own adventurous philosophy. They're willing to follow Kennedy's imaginative flights wherever they might take him, while always keeping him anchored, somehow, to Vivaldi's original blueprint.

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