This release marks a career milestone for violinist Rachel Barton Pine, whose career story includes a two-year convalescence and comeback from a Chicago commuter train accident in which she and her violin were dragged for more than 300 yards. Here, Pine expands not just beyond Chicago but beyond the U.S. in readings that feature close, well-thought-out collaborations with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Teddy Abrams. Pine has quite a bit of competition in the Dvořák Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53, and the Violin Concerto of Aram Khachaturian, but she delivers distinctive readings of both works. They both deal in folk rhythms, but they're quite different: the Dvořák concerto is a warm, Brahmsian work with an overlay of Czech rhythms, while Khachaturian's 1940 concerto, Pine says, reminds her of the heavy metal music she also enjoys hearing, and that's how she plays it. The first movement, with its large central cadenza (she plays the one contributed by David Oistrakh, which Khachaturian preferred), percussively and powerfully. The slow movement is beautiful and heavily lyrical, and the finale, one of Khachaturian's great crowd-pleasers, is infectious fun. For the Dvořák, you can choose from among any number of broad Czech readings, but Pine is determinedly low-key. She emphasizes the Brahms aspect, which is right for this stage in Dvořák's career, rather than the Czech element. To shift gears in a program like this is impressive, and the album, in general, announces a major talent of which those beyond the U.S. may be unaware.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53|