Solo Baroque

Solo Baroque

by Rachel Barton Pine
     
 

This disc is a triumph on many levels -- superb musicianship, Baroque-period style, and intelligent programming -- none of which will surprise anyone following the career of violinist Rachel Barton Pine. On her previous release, she placed Brahms's familiar Violin Concerto in a fascinating context alongside a little-known concertoSee more details below

Overview

This disc is a triumph on many levels -- superb musicianship, Baroque-period style, and intelligent programming -- none of which will surprise anyone following the career of violinist Rachel Barton Pine. On her previous release, she placed Brahms's familiar Violin Concerto in a fascinating context alongside a little-known concerto by Joseph Joachim, the violinist who had premiered the Brahms. Now she shines an equally revealing light on J. S. Bach, whose six Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin are a cornerstone of the repertoire -- and a benchmark for any performer's technical and interpretive skills. Most violinists would be tempted to prove their mettle by simply focusing on Bach, and Pine's masterful performance leaves no doubt that this, too, would have been a delight to hear. Her rendering of this music's complex textures is absorbing listening, thanks especially to the rich tones produced by the Baroque violin she uses here, unaltered since its 1770 making. But just as gratifying is Pine's decision to work backward from Bach, in an archaeological excavation of the solo violin repertoire of his time: the tradition of which Bach was the summit. Thus, Bach's First Sonata and Second Partita (the latter culminating in the sublime "Ciaconna") are joined by a sonata by Pisendel, a leading virtuoso of the early 1700s and an acquaintance of Bach's; a suite by Westhoff, based on simpler versions of the dance forms that Bach would transcend in his own works; and the highlight among these discoveries, a spiritually intense Passacaglia by Biber. The unusually informative liner notes, written by Pine herself, reveal the deep historical knowledge that provides a solid grounding for her unerring musical instincts.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
Rachel Barton Pine, a young violinist who has made headlines by trying to attract audiences unfamiliar with classical music, now makes a splash of a different kind: she ventures into the field of historical performance with an ambitious disc combining some of Bach's solo violin music with similar contemporary or slightly older works by other composers. Bach's "Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001," opens the proceedings; Barton Pine argues in her lengthy notes (which range all the way from her girlhood experiences playing the violin in a Chicago church to detailed historical exegeses) that this piece most clearly shows Bach's links to the solo violin tradition in which he worked. The disc ends with the "Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004," and its massive Chaconne movement. In between are works by Johann Paul von Westhoff (1656-1705), Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704), and Johann Georg Pisendel (1687-1755). The Biber "Passacaglia" that concludes his set of "Rosary" sonatas seems closest to Bach's uncanny way of pushing technical extremity over some kind of strange border into spiritual ecstasy. Bach probably did not know Biber's work, but he is likely to have been familiar with the Westhoff "Suite II in A major" and the "Sonata in A minor" by Pisendel, concertmaster of the virtuoso orchestra at the Dresden court. True, the disc makes one see how far above these minor composers Bach stood. But it also demonstrates how Bach artfully combined strands of the music he knew. Westhoff's piece is full of study-like complications, including a succession of double stops lasting for several minutes in its first movement; Pisendel's piece is flashy, with sharp harmonic shifts and a strong semi-improvisatory feel. Barton Pine effectively transfers that improvisatory quality to Bach's music, and she holds the listener's interest over the course of the entire recording. Only the final Chaconne disappoints somewhat; Barton Pine seems so intent on displaying the contrapuntal abilities of her never-reconstructed 1770 violin that she doesn't quite generate the sheer fire that this movement demands. But there are many other versions of that Chaconne available -- and few other choices if one wants to understand Bach's remarkable works in the context of a tradition. Barton Pine accomplishes her bold goals here, and keeps her rising star on its trajectory.
Gramophone - Duncan Druce
The recording...puts Barton Pine under close scrutiny and shows her as a most accomplished Baroque violinist, fully the equal of the foremost specialists. Her fine tone is capable of sounding expressive without reliance on vibrato.... Unusually satisfying performances.
St. Petersburg Times - John Fleming
Pine's playing has a nice balance of formality and spontaneity. She brings out the dancey quality that exists at the heart of many of the movements. The CD winds up with the chaconne of the D minor partita, an amazing combination of spiritual depth and intellectual vitality.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/28/2004
Label:
Cedille
UPC:
0735131907828
catalogNumber:
78
Rank:
153970

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Sonata for solo violin No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Melanie Germond  - Pete Goldlust  - Rachel Barton Pine
  2. Suite (Partita) for solo violin No. 2 in A major  - Johann Paul von Westhoff  - Melanie Germond  - Pete Goldlust  - Rachel Barton Pine
  3. Passacaglia (Mystery Sonata), for violin solo in G minor (standard tuning), C. 105  - Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber  - Melanie Germond  - Pete Goldlust  - Rachel Barton Pine
  4. Sonata for Violin Solo in A minor  - Johann Georg Pisendel  - Melanie Germond  - Pete Goldlust  - Rachel Barton Pine
  5. Partita for solo violin No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004  - Johann Sebastian Bach  - Melanie Germond  - Pete Goldlust  - Rachel Barton Pine

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