Nigel Kennedy @ City Hall
The crowd gathered at the city hall was what you would expect for a classical music concert. In terms of my age, I was a minority and in this sense I was slightly disappointed; Nigel Kennedy is renowned for breaking many of the “rules” of classical music and it would have been uplifting if that was reflected in the audience.
As the lights dimmed you could hear him chuckling away off-stage as the orchestra began to gradually appear, applauded politely by the crowd. They were eventually followed by the man himself, violin in hand, staging the classic Kennedy dress down look; a yellow sports t-shirt, jeans and trainers.
The first half of the gig saw us being lead through a series of “dedications” attributing four musicians who had an important impact on his career. The second saw a twist on the traditional “Four Seasons”, a mesmerising and refreshing re-working. We saw first-hand how Kennedy conducts his orchestra, seeking to pull out of them random improvisations and solos, breaking free from what can be seen as an authoritarian role.
The unique quality of this tour was that the whole set was performed acoustically which added to Kennedy’s natural, laid back flair. It created the feeling that you were part of a rehearsal and although enjoyable to me, for those sat further towards back or those hard of hearing, this might have been too ambitious, especially in a venue as big as the city hall.
Altogether the evening demonstrated how accessible classical music can be. The compositions embraced a myriad of genres, reflecting how Kennedy sees music as a collective, rejecting the stuffiness of the classical world; to Kennedy music is music and art is art.