Press Release - June, 2005
VIOLINIST RACHEL BARTON PINE RELEASES
Recording includes Medley of Scots Tunes, an original orchestration by Ms. Pine, arranged and performed with renowned Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser, as well as a documentary of the project by Peachtoad Productions
her eleventh recording, noted American violinist Rachel Barton Pine
creates a fresh interpretation of Bruch's Scottish Fantasy
and presents a unique collaboration with world-renowned Scottish
fiddler Alasdair Fraser and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, conducted
by Alexander Platt. This is the first project that highlights Bruch's
celebrated work alongside classical pieces by Scottish composers,
all inspired by a mutual love of the rich Celtic musical tradition.
Also included is Ms. Pine's original orchestration, Medley of
Scots Tunes, arranged and performed with Alasdair Fraser. The
disc, her seventh for Cedille Records, will be available in stores
June 14, 2005.
Ms. Pine thoroughly researched each work on the album, discovering the original, mostly 18th-century fiddle tunes that inspired them. She collaborated closely with world-famous Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser to capture the true flavor of these timeless compositions and highlight their presence throughout the album.
"Working with Alasdair was inspiring. He reminded me of the importance of being aware of the particular musical language with which you are working at any given moment," says Ms. Pine. "There is so much potential for expression contained in classical repertoire. Collaborating with [Alasdair] sharpened my awareness of these possibilities, and brought home the importance of being what Alasdair calls a multi-lingual musician."
With this project, Ms. Pine taps into the vital connection between classical music and the traditional fiddle tunes that flourished in Scotland for over two hundred years. Scottish fiddlers had long been influenced by the innovative techniques developed by classical violinists in continental Europe. Beethoven, Haydn, Weber, Berlioz, and Bruch each incorporated Scots tunes into their compositions. Rather than pair the Bruch with other Romantic-era composers, Ms. Pine chose to focus on other works based on Scottish tunes including two masterpieces by little known Scottish composers. Sir Alexander Campbell Mackenzie's Pibroch Suite and Sir John Blackwood McEwen's Scottish Rhapsody "Prince Charlie" are rarely played works to which Ms. Pine strives to bring richly deserved recognition.
Recognized as one of the greatest British composers of his time, Scotsman Sir Alexander Mackenzie earned much respect from contemporaries such as Franz Liszt and Sir Edward Elgar. Mackenzie began his musical life as a violinist and Scots fiddler before gaining recognition as a composer. He was continually inspired by the folk tunes of his homeland. The masterful Pibroch Suite juxtaposes the Celtic flavor of traditional fiddle tunes and the 19th-century world of orchestral color and harmony, striking a balance between the two that is truly inspired. The Suite encompasses a variety of musical forms, including a virtuosic theme and variations on a traditional tune, and is titled in homage of the Great Highland bagpipe tradition.
Scottish Rhapsody "Prince Charlie" by Mackenzie's successor, Sir John McEwen, is featured in its world premiere recording. Considered one of the finest Scottish composers of the 20th century, McEwen authored dozens of works for orchestra and chamber ensembles in a unique style blending Scottish folk music with impressionism and late Romanticism. McEwen originally wrote the Prince Charlie Rhapsody for violin and piano, then orchestrated and modified the piece 20 years later. Ms. Pine is the first performer to record the work in its orchestral version, which exists only in the composer's manuscript.
One of the greatest soloists of his era, Pablo de Sarasate inspired many distinguished composers and had an affectionate relationship with both Mackenzie and Bruch, who dedicated the Scottish Fantasy to him. In addition to his renowned skill as a performer, Sarasate was a prolific composer for the violin. His own spectacular ode to Scottish fiddling, Airs èccossais, is included on the album in another world premiere recording.
Medley of Scots Tunes, orchestrated by Ms. Pine and arranged with Alasdair Fraser, brings several of the soloists favorite traditional tunes to the symphonic realm. The piece highlights the Scottish Chamber Orchestra as well as the collaboration between the soloists and marks Mr. Fraser's orchestral recording debut.
"With my orchestration, I aspired for interaction between the ensemble and soloists. I think it was more enjoyable for everyone to blend together, rather than relegate the orchestra to an accompanying role," says Ms. Pine. "The amazing thing about the Scottish Chamber Orchestra is that the players are all steeped in the Celtic tradition, and are easily able to enter this sound world."
The 2-disc set (sold at a single disc price) also includes a documentary directed by Tristan Cook of Peachtoad Productions entitled "The Making of Scottish Fantasies." Filmed on location in Ms. Pine's hometown of Chicago and in Scotland, this feature offers an engaging perspective on the entire project, from its early inspiration to a behind-the-scenes look at the recording process.
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Scottish Fantasies for Violin and Orchestra