Nigel Kennedy attacks ‘authentic’ Bach

Violinist accuses period specialists of pushing Bach into a ghetto

Nigel Kennedy

Violin soloist, Nigel Kennedy

Nigel Kennedy has accused fellow performers of ghettoising Bach’s music with soulless, ‘so-called authentic’ interpretations, reports the Guardian. In programme notes for his recent evening performance at the BBC Proms, he said he wanted to ‘keep Bach in the mainstream and present his music with, rather than without, its emotional core’.

Kennedy also attacked violinists of the Galamian school, whom he said ‘lacked rhythmic ingenuity, dynamic sophistication and architectural awareness’. And he accused contemporary Russian performers of making Bach’s philosophical masterpieces sound like ‘shallow showpieces’.

For Kennedy, the ideal Bach interpreter was his former teacher, Yehudi Menuhin. ‘Bach speaks through Menuhin’s violin,’ he wrote, adding that ‘four melodic notes from Yehudi are worth more than a thousand from any of our living violinists’.

via The Strad – Nigel Kennedy attacks ‘authentic’ Bach – 16 August 2011.

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