Nigel Kennedy has kicked off quite a debate this weekend, with an article in The Observer picking up on some programme notes by him from a recent performance of Bach. In it, he criticises modern-day performances of the composers music, and period-performance in particular, stating:

“Even the description of oneself as being ‘authentic’ is unbelievably arrogant – and, in the case of so-called ‘period’ performance, misguided. How can music … be authentic if it is stripped of passion and made into an exercise of painfully self-conscious technique?

Read the full article here

Obviously we’d take issue with this. And from a personal point of view I’d probably add that period-performance and ‘dry’ academicism are not the same thing – an academic or historically informed approach does not mean a passion-less performance. But anyway, what do you think? Does he have a point?

William Norris, Communications Director