Nigel Kennedy’s new album to appear in October
Renowned violinist Nigel Kennedy, a Briton whose marriage to a Pole is one reason he fell in love with Poland, will include the music of two little-recorded Romantic-era Polish composers in his next album. “Polish Spirit” will feature violin concertos of Emil Mlynarski and Mieczyslaw Karlowicz in addition to works of the Polish musical giant Frederic Chopin, according to www.cgm.pl, the Web site of the music newspaper Codzienna Gazeta Muzyczna.Kennedy, who has a second home in Krakow, is married to Agnieszka Chowaniec of Bielsko-Biala, 88 kilometers from Krakow.He is recording the CD, which EMI Classics plans to release in October, with the Warsaw-based Polish Cameral Orchestra, or Polska Orkiestra Kameralna. The conductor of the orchestra is Jacek Kaspszyk.One of the pieces on the album, Mlynarski?s Second Violin Concerto, is practically unknown to the public, classical-music observers say. And Korlowicz’s Violin Concerto, also on the album, is also rarely heard.Chopin’s Nocturne Opus 9, Numbers 1 and 2, will fill out the album.Mlynarski, who lived from 1870 to 1935, was a violinist, conductor, composer and music teacher. He was the founding conductor of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and subsequently served as principal conductor of the Scottish Orchestra in Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland.Karlowicz, who lived from 1876 to 1909, composed music whose Romantic character recalled the works of German composer Richard Strauss, French composer Alberic Magnard and Russian pianist and composer Alexander Scriabin.Karlowicz’s works fill a place in the history of Polish music between Chopin (1810-1849) and the pianist and composer Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937).In addition to the CD, EMI Classics will release a DVD of a concert that Kennedy recorded last year with the Pomeranian Philharmonic Orchestra in the northern Poland city of Bydgoszcz. The orchestra conductor for that concert was John Stanley.In a documentary part of the DVD, Kennedy tells about getting an unexpected gift of an old album at a concert he gave in Warsaw six years ago. A member of the audience gave it to him after he had performed British composer Edward William Elgar’s Violin Concerto.Mlynarski’s Second Violin Concert, which was on the album, intrigued Kennedy. He began looking into Romantic Polish composers ? and that led to the musical lineup on his next album.”The end of Romantism fascinates me,” Kennedy said. “Elgar, (Jean) Sibelius ” this is a fantastic period. There is no boring moment. The Mlynarski concerto is the exact type of music which I like to play.”Sibelius was one of the most notable composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His music played an important role in the formation of the Finnish national identity. Kennedy has been one of the world’s leading violin virtuosos for the past 30 years. His talent, unusual technique and popular appeal have brought fresh perspectives to both classical and contemporary music.In fact, Kennedy has been a major force in popularizing classical music, particularly among young people. “People can say I’m a classical violinist if they want to, but I’ve always viewed myself as a musician who plays music ” and not just a certain part of it,” he has said.Kennedy, who has been artistic director of the Polish Cameral Orchestra since 2002, said one of the joys of doing the album was “working with perfect musicians who enjoy the music in the same way I enjoy it.”He said he was glad that the musicians got the chance to show “to the world unknown composers from their homeland.”Besides music, one of Kennedy’s passions is soccer. He is a supporter of both English Aston Villa and Cracovia Krakow. He has even appeared in Cracovia promotional materials.