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!