THE OFFICIAL REVIEWS FROM THE PAPERS.
Friday 5th August 2011, Evening Standard.
FOUR STARS out of FIVE - Nick Kimberley's rating
FOUR AND HALF STARS out of FIVE - Readers rating
Royal Albert Hall SW7 2AP - Saturday 6th August 2011 - Prom 31.
We were promised an hour of Bach for solo violin but Nigel Kennedy delivered just 40 minutes, and for once the shortfall wasn't a result of his interminable chat.
After a mercifully brief introduction, he launched into the four-minute Prelude from Bach's third Partita. This was fast and furious finger-loosening, the bow sawing manically across the strings to produce a rainbow of colours. Some of the phrasing was choppy but Kennedy was right in the idiom.
The complete Second Partita again revealed occasional slips but, more importantly, the dance rhythms were strongly characterised. In the meditative sarabande, momentum became dangerously attenuated, but Kennedy managed the tempo shifts with nonchalant ease. A passage in the mighty chaconne became something akin to a lullaby: Kennedy's abundant technique placed at the service of richly nuanced expression.
And that was it for solo Bach.
Instead Kennedy introduced three musical associates for some jazzy Bach arrangements, less decorous than Jacques Loussier's Bach but equally reverent. With two Fats Waller pieces to follow, they made engagingly light, oddly old-fashioned musical tributes, but oh for another 20 minutes of just Kennedy, just Bach, just violin.
Repeat BBC Four (September 9); also available on BBC i-Player (0845 4015040, bbc.co.uk/proms)
THE TIMES - Monday 8th August 2011
FOUR STARS out of FIVE - Richard Morrison
...After that, Nigel Kennedy, the eternal teenager, was the apt choice for the packed late-night Prom, and he was superb.
From memory he played unaccompanied Bach (notably the Partita in D minor, including its vast Chaconne) with an unaffected, silvery, toned, natural flow.
Then, with three equally deft jazz collaborators, he launched into a little swung JSB and some delicious Fats Waller.
People talk about our dumbed-down culture. But when 5,000 people pay to hear Bach played on a solo violin, there is hope for Western civilisation.
The Times for full article.