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Violin Concertos By Black Composers / Barton, Hege, Encore Chamber Orchestra


Release Date: 11/01/1999 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 35   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-GeorgesJoseph WhiteSamuel Coleridge-TaylorChevalier De Meude-Monpas
Performer:  Rachel Barton Pine
Conductor:  Daniel Hege
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Encore Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


This enterprising disc brings to light the violin concertos of four neglected or forgotten composers of African descent. Joseph Boulogne, a.k.a. the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the son of a slave-woman, became one of the most highly regarded and well known social and artistic figures in 19th century France, enjoying multiple careers as musician, sportsman, and military leader. His A major Violin Concerto (1775) looks both backward to Vivaldi and forward to Mozart (some believe Mozart's concertos were influenced by Saint-Georges). This charming work exhibits a high-spirited drive in the outer movements, with much keen invention in the solo writing, and serene calm in the central Largo--this last, one
Read more of Saint-Georges' exquisitely beautiful slow movements.


Not much is known about the life of the other Chevalier on this disc, the French-born J.J.O. de Meude-Monpas. Besides being a musketeer for Louis XVI, he did leave two books on music and six violin concertos. His D major concerto (1786) has little of the virtuoso flair of Saint-Georges, but covers a broader range of emotions (being more firmly entrenched in the classical era) with an opening allegro that builds nicely upon its wonderfully engaging themes. Joseph White, born in Cuba, studied at the Paris Conservatoire, and later began an international performing and composing career, winning glowing praise from the likes of Rossini. Written after Paganini's expansion of the violin's technical possibilities, White's Concerto in F-sharp minor (1864) easily is the most virtuosic of this collection, abounding in wide leaps, double-stops, and other impressive feats. The first movement's main theme evokes the heated romanticism of Felix Mendelssohn or Robert Schumann, but the challenging solo writing puts it in league with the works of Henryk Wieniawski (though White has better tunes).


British-born Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, known primarily for his cantata Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, is the most recognizable composer of the group. His 1899 Romance in G, bearing none of the traces of the ethnic harmonies and rhythms employed in his Africa Suite (on a previously reviewed Cedille release), sounds strictly European by contrast. Nonetheless it remains a deeply felt composition of considerable harmonic and melodic sophistication. The mood here is similar to the slow movement of Brahms' Violin Concerto, but with a central animato section providing a welcome change of pace. Soloist Rachel Barton sounds perfectly at home in all four of these stylistically disparate compositions, but she gives an especially impressive performance of White's expressively and technically demanding concerto. The composers would be pleased to hear such committed advocacy on the part of Daniel Hege and the Encore Chamber Orchestra, who present these works as repertoire staples. Cedille's usual top-drawer sound makes this a disc you should not miss.
--Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Concertos (2) for Violin, Op. 5: no 2 in A major by Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges
Performer:  Rachel Barton Pine (Violin)
Conductor:  Daniel Hege
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Encore Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1775; France 
Date of Recording: 06/1997 
Venue:  St John Chapel, Arlington Heights, IL 
Length: 23 Minutes 43 Secs. 
2. Concerto for Violin in F sharp minor by Joseph White
Performer:  Rachel Barton Pine (Violin)
Conductor:  Daniel Hege
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Encore Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864 
Date of Recording: 06/1997 
Venue:  St John Chapel, Arlington Heights, IL 
Length: 21 Minutes 34 Secs. 
3. Romance for Violin and Orchestra in G major, Op. 39 "Prairie Lilies" by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Performer:  Rachel Barton Pine (Violin)
Conductor:  Daniel Hege
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Encore Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1899; England 
Date of Recording: 06/1997 
Venue:  St John Chapel, Arlington Heights, IL 
Length: 12 Minutes 33 Secs. 
4. Concerto for Violin no 4 in D major by Chevalier De Meude-Monpas
Performer:  Rachel Barton Pine (Violin)
Conductor:  Daniel Hege
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Encore Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786 
Date of Recording: 06/1997 
Venue:  St John Chapel, Arlington Heights, IL 
Length: 16 Minutes 56 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major: I. Allegro
Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major: II. Adagio
Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major: IIi. Rondeau Allegretto
Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 5, No. 2: I. Allegro Moderato
Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 5, No. 2: II. Largo
Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 5, No. 2: III. Rondeau
Violin Concerto in F sharp minor: I. Allegro
Violin Concerto in F sharp minor: II. Adagio ma non troppo
Violin Concerto in F sharp minor: IIi. Allegro moderato
Romance, Op. 39: Romance in G major for Violin and Orchestra

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