DISC OF THE MONTH
"With this new release, violinist Rachel Barton Pine and Cedille recall the glorious era of the headline-inducing violin recital, the art of the arrangement and transcription, and the thrill of virtuoso performance for its own sake. And yes, Pine’s choice of music and her brilliant playing could serve as inspiration to a new generation of prospective string players. . . . Pine and her very able piano partner Matthew Hagle treat us to a true celebration of the violin in its several guises--as singer, percussionist, poet, and even humorist. . . . The sound is unfailingly vibrant and ideally balanced between violin and piano (not always an easy feat), allowing Pine’s 1742 Guarneri violin to freely express itself. Highly recommended!"
David Vernier - ClassicsToday.com - August 2007
"Those who want to hear Powell play the bulk of these pieces can easily do so on Naxos, but nobody should be disappointed to hear Pine play them in richly detailed recorded sound, with the sympathetic support of Matthew Hagle. Pine has a way with this literature (she knows how and when to ease gently and subtly into a pitch or a dynamic mark) and, I’d guess, with miniatures in general’that seems to be something more vital than mere pastiche. The participation of Karen Shaffer, Powell’s biographer, lends the package special interest. Strongly recommended to those who love the music of the period (including Danks’s Silver Threads among the Gold), to those who revere Powell, and to listeners in general."
Robert Maxham - Fanfare Magazine
"Although not a composer herself, Powell transcribed a good deal of other people’s music for her own concert use. Much of Pine’s Cedille recital consists of these arrangements -- salon music in the best sense of the word; also included are such attractive miniatures as Amy Beach’s "Romance" and Carl Venth’s "Aria." Pine, in partnership with pianist Matthew Hagle, plays them with a sensitivity and depth of expression Powell surely would have appreciated."
John von Rhein - Chicago Tribune
"Powell was not only America’s first world-class violinist but also an avatar for the kind of artistic values that today’s young musicians are discovering for themselves. Diversity? She championed the works of female and African-American composers. Contemporary music? She was a pioneer, giving the U.S. premieres of the Tchaikovsky, Dvorák, and Sibelius concertos. Outreach? She practically invented it, tirelessly playing concerts in small-town recital halls. Pine’s program consists mainly of little nuggets Powell favored, like Amy Beach’s "Romance," Chopin’s "Minute" Waltz, and Dvorák’s "Humoreske." But they are attractive ones, each an excellent vehicle for Pine’s nimble, expressive, and articulate style."
Russell Platt - The New Yorker
"On this recording, the Chicago-based violinist (and "full disclosure" DePaul classmate) Rachel Barton Pine pays homage with a beautifully played program of works written for and transcribed by Powell. . . . Matthew Hagle provides superb piano accompaniment throughout, with a deep, rounded touch (which he appropriately abandons for Liebling’s thundering bombast). Barton Pine combines a full romantic arsenal of sound with a judicious balance of elegance and fire. A lovely record."
"In "American Virtuoso," Rachel Barton Pine may be the first violinist to pay hommage to Maud Powell, the first great American violinist (1867-1920). Barton Pine gathers a bouquet of short works popular during Powell’s career (Cedille CDR 90000 097). This delectable disc features a range of music, from Amy Beach’s "Romance" to Massenet’s "Twilight", that has disappeared from the repertory. To every selection, Barton Pine brings a full, generous tone and incisive musicianship. She takes these trifles seriously and performs them with flair. She plays Beach’s "Romance" elegantly. But she also digs into Herman Bellstedt Jr.’s Caprice on "Dixie" with a blend of rhythmic verve and technical dazzle. Throughout, she receives fine support from her partner, pianist Matthew Hagle. Barton Pine makes an eloquent case for Henry Holden Huss’ "Romance" in a heartfelt performance that catches the grave beauty of the music. She also revels in a transcription of Chopin’s "Minute" Waltz."
Robert Baxter - CourierPost (New Jersey)
"Violin enthusiasts and appreciators of fine music will find Rachel Barton Pine’s American Virtuosa - Tribute to Maud Powell a wonderfully delightful and timeless classical music CD. With eighteen different pieces of music (all of which were part of Maud Powell’s repertoire), the contrast between styles is highly enjoyable. American Virtuosa - Tribute to Maud Powell is a must have for any classical music collection."
Aaron Green - About.com
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