Posted by: rbbadger | April 25, 2010

A couple of different takes on Vivaldi

The estimable Western Confucian has brought to my attention the existence of a rather unique ensemble known as Red Priest.  As their own webpage states, they are the only Early Music ensemble to have been compared to the Marx Brothers, the Rolling Stones, Spike Jones, or Le Cirque du Soleil.  Some might object, but I, for one, am happy to see early music specialists having fun with the music.  Here is their version of Vivaldi’s “Spring” from the Four Seasons.

Back in the 1980s a British violinist by the name of Nigel Kennedy burst onto the scene.  He made a recording of Vivaldi that sold over two million copies.  He has long been doing what is termed “crossover” work, sometimes appearing with orchestras and at other times appearing with jazz and rock groups.  I imagine that this video dates from about the time of his Vivaldi recording.  For some reason, the English Chamber Orchestra are all wearing sunglasses.  Don’t let the showmanship fool you.  Kennedy is perfectly able of doing high quality work when he wants to and is a very talented musician.  Despite having been called “a Liberace for the Nineties”,  his recording of Walton’s Violin Concerto and the Viola Concerto of the same composer was critically acclaimed.  (He is also a violist.)  His second recording of the Vivaldi has likewise received favourable reviews from the critics.

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