Wednesday, June 11, 2008

San Jose Mercury News: “Concert review: Violinist Pine soars in concert” in Palo Alto

[American Virtuosa: Tribute to Maud Powell; Rachel Barton Pine, Violin; Matthew Hagle, Piano; Cedille Records 90000 097 (2007)]

Concert review: Violinist Pine soars in concert

By Richard Scheinin
San Jose Mercury News
Article Launched: 06/11/2008 01:34:42 AM PDT

The violinist Rachel Barton Pine is a lot of things: a songbird player; a non-snooty ambassador for classical music; a big-hearted advocate for overlooked and forgotten composers. A friend of music, basically. She's a high-end soloist, though not one of those hyper-virtuosos who bores listeners with perfection. She's something better: a hyper-musician.

All this became clear Friday at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, where Pine joined the New Century Chamber Orchestra for a guest stint as soloist, concertmaster and chamber player. In the world of parimutuel betting, she won the trifecta, though which of her talents placed first, second and third, it's hard to say.” “Pine assembled this past week's program, which repeated in Berkeley, San Francisco and Marin County and focused much of it on works by Afro-European and African-American composers. It began with the Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 5, No. 2, by Chevalier de Saint-Georges, born in Guadalupe in 1745 and raised in France, the son of a French aristocrat and an enslaved mother.”

This elegant piece was given a splendid performance: virtuoso ensemble playing by the 17-member string orchestra and, by soloist Pine, a demonstration in the musical balance of brain and heart.” “[George] Walker's 'Lyric for Strings' is a harmonically enriched reworking of the first movement of his first string quartet. It's gorgeous, quietly heartbreaking in the mode of Samuel Barber's 'Adagio.' With Pine in the concertmaster's chair, the orchestra gave it a pungent performance. Even more effecting was [Coleridge-Taylor] Perkinson's Sinfonietta No. 2 for Strings ('Generations'), which is rapturous, infused with the influences of jazz and spirituals.” Full Post [All three composers are profiled at]

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