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Scottish Fantasies For Violin And Orchestra / Barton Pine


Release Date: 06/28/2005 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 83   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Max BruchPablo de SarasateAlexander MackenzieJohn McEwen,   ... 
Performer:  Rachel Barton Pine
Conductor:  Alexander Platt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 22 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Like her previous album for Cedille, which paired concertos by Brahms and Joachim, everything about this release by violinist Rachel Barton Pine is exceptional, from the selection of couplings to the performances themselves. In the first place, it's wonderful to see a program built around concert pieces for violin and orchestra based on Scottish themes, since this permits a new view of an old chestnut and some welcome attention given to worthy but neglected repertoire. The chestnut in question is Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, a marvelous work seldom played or recorded today, but one that is more substantial in length and in
Read more may ways more imaginative in content than the ever-popular Violin Concerto No. 1, with which it is sometimes mated on disc.


For this performance, Barton Pine has consulted Scottish fiddler and folk-music authority Alasdair Fraser for some stylistic pointers on an authentic inflection of the tunes that Bruch borrowed for his work. The result is a tastefully ornamented solo line, most obviously in the slower music (check out the opening of the third-movement Andante sostenuto). This is not, I hasten to add, a case of tarting up the music in a garish or unidiomatic fashion. On the contrary, Barton Pine is acutely sensitive to Bruch's actual text, paying particularly close attention to dynamics and articulation (her soft playing in both the opening adagio and the andante is exquisite). The addition of some melodic turns and grace notes simply enhances the natural expressiveness of the melodies themselves, a quality heightened by Barton Pine's smooth, singing tone.


In rapid passages, her technique is perfectly secure, with multiple stops and octaves always in tune, and her sensitivity to the what is happening in the orchestra is second to none. The charming duet between violin and flute in the scherzo, for example, seldom has sounded better balanced or more effortless. The violinist is helped considerably by the excellent accompaniments provided by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Alexander Platt, which are notably refined and transparent but also offer plenty of the necessary rhythmic energy where called for (and to be honest, Bruch doesn't ask for much--it's mostly a gentle, lyrical piece).


The proceedings take on a bit more earthy vigor in the couplings. Mackenzie's Pibroch Suite is a marvelous and very substantial work (23 minutes) that ought to be better known. It has been recorded before, most recently by Hyperion, in a fine performance that Barton Pine betters by a slim margin, finding a bit more poetry in the opening Rhapsody and digging in for some extra character in the marvelous concluding Dance. McEwen's Scottish Rhapsody "Prince Charlie" evidently is new to CD, and it's equally enjoyable. What a pity that some enterprising violinist doesn't make a live program of some of the excellent short works for violin and orchestra that seem to exist these days only on disc! Sarasate's Airs ecossais is another gem whose technical fireworks Barton Pine handles with aplomb.


Closing out the disc is a Medley of Scots Tunes, selected and arranged for dueling violinists by Barton Pine and Fraser and expertly scored for orchestra by Barton Pine alone. The melodies, as might be expected, are wholly delightful, and the performance absolutely brilliant, bringing the program to a rousing conclusion. All together, you get more than 80 minutes of music on two CDs for the price of one, including a video documentary on how the project came together. I did not watch it, as the quality of the music-making speaks for itself, but others may be more interested in the visual element than I am. In sum, this collaboration between Barton Pine, Fraser, Platt, and the SCO is a triumph on all counts, a model of what a themed release ought to be, and it's all captured in demonstration-quality sound by Cedille's engineers. Without a doubt, this is one of the smartest and most purely lovable releases of the year. [7/16/2005]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 46 by Max Bruch
Performer:  Rachel Barton Pine (Violin)
Conductor:  Alexander Platt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Liverpool, England 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 31 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland (05/20/2004 - 05/22/2004) 
2.
Airs écossais, Op. 34 by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Rachel Barton Pine (Violin)
Conductor:  Alexander Platt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 7 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Notes: Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland (05/20/2004 - 05/22/2004) 
3.
Pibroch Suite, Op. 42 by Alexander Mackenzie
Performer:  Rachel Barton Pine (Violin)
Conductor:  Alexander Platt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Scotland 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 8 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Notes: Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland (05/20/2004 - 05/22/2004) 
4.
Rhapsody for Violin and Piano/Orchestra "Prince Charlie" by John McEwen
Performer:  Rachel Barton Pine (Violin)
Conductor:  Alexander Platt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: England 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 12 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Notes: Version: 1941
Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland (05/20/2004 - 05/22/2004)
Composition written: England (1915).
Composition revised: 1941. 
5.
Medley of Scots Tunes by 
Venue:  Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland 
Length: 5 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a medley which includes "Medley of Scots Tunes" by Alasdair Fraser, "Flora MacDonald" by Traditional, "Waulkin of the Fauld" by Traditional, "Miss Lyall, or Mrs. Grant of Laggan" by Traditional and "Timur the Tartar" by Traditional.
Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland (05/20/2004 - 05/22/2004) 

Sound Samples

Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46: Introduction: Grave -
Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46: II. Adagio cantabile
Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46: II. Scherzo: Allegro -
Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46: III. Andante sostenuto
Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46: IV. Finale: Allegro guerriero
Airs ecossais, Op. 34
Pibroch Suite, Op. 42: I. Rhapsody: Lento
Pibroch Suite, Op. 42: II. Caprice: Allegretto -
Pibroch Suite, Op. 42: III. Dance: Allegro vivace
Scottish Rhapsody, "Prince Charlie"
Medley of Scot Tunes

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