Nigel Kennedy Plays Bach (2005)

by | Aug 9, 2006 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Nigel Kennedy Plays Bach (2005)

Nigel Kennedy, violin, with soloists and Irish Chamber Orchestra
Program: Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor; Concerto for Oboe and Violin in D Minor BWV 1060; Violin Concerto No. 2 in E; Two-Part Inventions Nos. 1, 8 & 6 arr. for violin and cello; Concerto for Two Violins in D minor BWV 1043; MONTI: Csardas
Studio: RTE-TV/EMI 3 32341 9
Video: Enhanced for 16:9 widescreen, color
Audio: PCM Stereo
No region code
Extras: Kennedy in Leipzig (Interview), Excerpts from Vivaldi concertos, incl. The Four Seasons
Length: 65 minutes
Rating: ****

This appears to be a followup on Kennedy’s previous EMI video of Vivaldi performances (some of which are repeated in the bonus items of this DVD). The settings are equally attractive if a bit overdone – candles everywhere and extremely warm color balance, making all the players look like they are performing Bach around a roaring campfire. Camera movements are frequent and include instrument closeups and soaring crane shots from high above or down below the performers.

Kennedy wears a strange outfit with a long scarf hanging down in front that makes him look like Waldo.  He makes every effort in his between-selections patter to come on super-relaxed and fun-loving.  His playing is thoroughly excellent but there seems to be a strong effort to play the fast movements just as fast as humanly possible, and it is evident some of the Irish players are struggling to keep up the pace. The slow movements of the violin concertos are sublime, and I’m retaining this in my library for that.  The most annoying thing about the video is a very loud and very low thump heard on some of the downbeats.  It took me awhile to figure out the source:  Kennedy’s own foot on the stage… You might want to just turn off your subwoofer – not needed for this music anyway!

 – John Sunier

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