MUSIC / London Philharmonic / Tennstedt - Royal Festival Hall, London

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The Independent Culture
Forget the combat boots, unmatching socks and pigtail. On Tuesday Nigel Kennedy made a quite extraordinary impression by purely musical means in Beethoven's Violin Concerto. Adopting uniformly slow tempos, such as might have spelt disaster in lesser hands, Kennedy infused his interpretation with a rhythmic sense of space, a tenderness and intensity of feeling, that stemmed from a genuine originality of perception.

His use of bravura to generate structural energy was remarkable, as was his treatment of recitative- like passages, although it was naughty to anticipate the final rondo theme in a linking cadenza.

Klaus Tennstedt, equally committed to this immensely spacious reading, drew playing of great warmth from the London Philharmonic, achieving a radiant lyricism in the expansive ritornellos.

Later he shaped an outstanding performance of Brahms's First Symphony, journeying from tragedy to ultimate triumph with total concentration. It was a reading notable for clarity of texture and motivic awareness, and the orchestra responded superbly. When the symphony finally arrived home in joyous excitement, the sense of occasion was overwhelming.