Everyday Rather Live in Classic Eras

Nigel Kennedy changed The Four Seasons and classical music

In 1989, the classical world was marking the end of an era with the death of Herbert von Karajan. Then Kennedy burst onto the scene and launched a new one. He was the polar opposite to every expectation we had of classical musicians: scruffy, cheeky, spiky-haired, foot-stamping, ‘Mockney’ speaking; he called us ‘cats’ and ‘monsters’! Agreed, The Four Seasons was the first time that a classical artist had been given the full pop marketing treatment. There was a promotional ‘single’, billboard posters, TV and radio commercials. But there was more to this phenomenon than marketing – Kennedy is a brilliant violinist and performer. His full throttle version of Vivaldi sold more than three million copies worldwide, held onto the No.1 spot in the classical chart for more than a year, and entered the record books as the best-selling classical recording ever. I’d spent my youth playing in bands and I vividly recall hearing Kennedy’s album for the first time and thinking ‘This guy knows how to let rip!’ I’d never heard baroque that sounded like rock before – and Kennedy looked the part too. If you need a reminder, join me on Classic FM Drive after 6pm to hear a track from the classic recording. [