As my book became increasingly eccentric, I thought ‘yes, that’s as it should be’. How else to do justice to a maverick musician, described by his one-time girlfriend Brix Smith as ‘a cross between Mozart and Keith Moon’?
For all its eccentricity, this book – the first ever study of Nigel Kennedy’s exceptional talent – delves into complex questions: about the relationship between so-called genius and unconventional behaviour; the true purpose of education; the freedom of the interpreter; connections between music and poetry, music and sport; and the role of the artist as advocate of political and humanitarian causes.
This is a book that revels in the non-conformative nature of its subject, and the principle of living life with truly individual purpose. It speaks to fans and detractors alike; to musicians, both professional and amateur; also to the general, curious reader not only about music but a wealth of associated cultural issues.
‘I applaud Paul Munden’s take-away from Sterne: each should “tell their stories in their own way”. That’s an essential part of Kennedy’s unique contribution to music, and it reminds us that we should all aspire to the same personal authenticity.’ —David Owen Norris, pianist, composer & broadcaster
‘I truly believe Nigel to be a consummate musical genius, and Paul’s book confirms it.’
—Julia Palmer-Price, cellist (Hendrix Tour, 1999)