NIGEL WHEREVER WE FIND HIM
NIGEL IN DETROIT
Norman Lebrecht, who is NOT my favourite person, wrote the following on his website Slipped Disc about Nigel's concerts in Detroit:
He’s in Detroit this week.
He was meant to be playing the Elgar concerto with Leonard Slatkin but changed his mind a few weeks ago and will perform a work of his own, ‘Dedications’, its movements named after Jarek Smietana, Isaac Stern, Stephane Grappelli and Mark O’Connor.
The former wild-child British violinist, now 59, last played in the US in 1998. No reason is known for his long absence, but caprice may be a factor.
Well, you see what I mean ! Leonard Slatkin, conductor of the DSO, replied to this, as follows:
Nigel’s pieces are dedications to four musicians who mean a great deal to him. We are doing them with an orchestra of about 30 musicians and our first rehearsal yesterday was wonderful. He had an injury to his left hand and the Elgar was simply not comfortable physically at this time. All of us are thrilled to have him back, no matter what he is playing.
The following video was made by an audience member at one of the two concerts which Nigel gave. Nigel plays Melody in the Wind (ded. Stephane Grappelli ) and Gibb It (ded. Mark O'Connor)
After the concerts, Nigel went to Bakers Keyboard Lounge in downtown Detroit and jammed with Ralphe Armstrong. Someone who was there made a video of part of the evening. It isn't a very good video and I don't want to post it here, but if you're interested click HERE and you'll be taken to it.
Steve Cox has kindly sent me this list of Nigel's Dedications:
Below is the list of Dedications original titles...Dla Jarka, Gibb It and Solitude have been recorded but not yet released.
Dla Jarka - for Jarek Smietana
Melody in the Wind - for Stephane Grappelli
Fallen Forest - for Isaac Stern
Gibb it - for Mark O'Connor
Solitude - for Yehudi Menuhin
Here's Nigel with Doug Boyle playing Fallen Forest.
NIGEL IN BURY-ST-EDMUNDS
The eagerly awaited performance by Nigel Kennedy opened this year’s Bury Festival and wowed the packed Apex to the core.
Kennedy’s virtuoso performance was inspirational and came with plenty of fun as the unconventional performer again showcased his amazing talent.
Appearing with 10 equally gifted players there were pieces dedicated to Smietana, Stéphane Grappelli, Isaac Stern and Mark O’Connor.
Clad in Tee shirt and fluorescent lemon trainers which beat out the pace of his music at times Kennedy was like a little Wizard as he bopped around before the players and conjured up magical music.
Praising the ‘phenomenal space’ of the Apex he kept the audience amused by his informal chat with ‘the cats’ between the pieces.
Two violins and two guitars plus superb cello work and percussion excelled but it was Kennedy’s brilliance as he transitioned between the lyrical and passionate which shone through in each piece.
The violin/cello duet which closed the first half was a joy as were the sparkling conversations between Kennedy and the two violinists.
His new version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was fascinating, the core remaining pure Vivaldi but with Kennedy’s own composition bringing a new interpretation between each season. Bongos, guitar jamming and a brief Star Spangled Banner took us into the magic of this work.
Still inspiring after more than 25 years at the top of his career, Kennedy and his musicians made music uplifting and fun without detracting from the excellence of the playing. Four encores followed, what more can you say!