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PREMIERE: Watch Nigel Kennedy 'Vivaldi: The New Four Seasons' - "Summer, Presto" (Sony)

By Logan K. Young l.young@classicalite.com on Sep 02, 2015 02:51 AM EDT

Our world sure seemed different 25 years ago. Back then, Nigel Kennedy, l'enfant terrible of the violin, made beguiling records for EMI. And a quarter century ago, he cut one with the English Chamber Orchestra. Entitled Vivaldi: Four Seasons, it's been certified by the Guinness Book of Records as the best-selling classical work of all time.

As Monsier Karr duly noted, though, the more things change, the more they're kind of the same. Ostensibly.

Pushing 60 and still one of our best-coiffed violinists, today, Nigel Kennedy records with even more freedom for Sony Classical. OK, so maybe his units--alas, like his neck vertebrae--don't move quite as much as they used to. But independent of climate change, Kennedy's updated take on the "Summer" of Vivaldi in Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315 burns a hell of a lot hotter (and man-made) that those sessions in London's Church of St. John-at-Hackney in September, 1986.

Three years later, Kennedy would give us but a first take. 25 years hence, premiering here on Classicalite the week before Labor Day, have a second look at the video for "Summer, Presto" from Nigel Kennedy and the Orchestra of Life's forthcoming album on Sony Classical, Vivaldi: The New Four Seasons.

Yes, all glitches are intentional.

"About 25 years ago, people seemed to consider that I had introduced a new element of energy and style of performance when interpreting The Four Seasons," Kennedy says. "Of course, we are now 25 years later and it would be mad of me, or anybody else, to think that I might still be performing this work in the same way as I did so long ago."

The architect behind Kennedy's change this go 'round is another Englishman, drummer Damon Reece. Playing husband to Elizabeth Fraser (lead singer of Cocteau Twins), Reece played drums in Spiritualized and Echo & the Bunnymen. Later, he programmed them for Massive Attack and Goldfrapp.

“Damon was a real inspiration for us in the studio," Kennedy told The Telegraph's Adam Sweeting some four years ago. "And we’re going to get him to do some beats and vocals with lyrics and stuff on the Vivaldi, so it won’t just be Kennedy coming back with his 5,000th appearance of The Four Seasons."

With those vocals courtesy of Trinidadian songstress Zee Gachette and Amy Winehouse's pianist Xantoné Blacq, it's hardly a de rigueur reading of the flaming priest, indeed.

"Everybody moves on artistically," Kennedy says further. "My objective is to present to you just as different an interpretation now as I presented when originally performing The Four Seasons. My approach to the performance on this occasion could, in fact, be best described as a 'rewrite,' something which has involved developing what I consider the most important aspects of Vivaldi´s music."

Releasing Friday, October, 30 in the U.S., you can pre-order Kennedy and the Orchestra of Life's Vivaldi: The New Four Seasons on CD at Amazon or hi-res download from iTunes 

If you must, you can stream via Spotify, as well.

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TagsEXCLUSIVE, Premiere, Nigel Kennedy, Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, Sony Classical, EMI, Damon Reece