On her album American Virtuosa: Tribute to Maud Powell, violinist Rachel Barton Pine pays wonderful homage to one of the greatest American violinists most listeners have likely never heard of. Maud Powell was a pioneer in almost every way imaginable, perhaps most notably because she was one of the first performers to attempt to bring classical music -- largely American classical music -- into the rural areas to people who would have had little or no access to such art music. She was renowned not only for her impressive technical and musical skills, but also her ability to program and deliver music in such a way so as to captivate listeners with any level of experience. Regrettably, her notoriety faded much more quickly than many of her contemporaries, such as Heifetz. Rachel Barton Pine's album features 21 short works dedicated to, transcribed by, or arranged for Powell. Each of the works has a character and personality all its own, giving listeners a little picture of what one of Powell's individually tailored recital programs would have been like. Barton Pine's performance is technically brilliant and musically engaging -- a very fitting tribute to Powell. Adding to the enjoyment is an extensive and well-written set of liner notes going into greater detail on the life and accomplishments of one of America's great, almost-forgotten "virtuosas."
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
Songs my mother taught me (Als die alte Mutter), song for voice & piano (Gypsy Melodies), B. 104/4 (Op. 55/4)
|King Christian II (Kung Kristian II), orchestral suite, Op. 27|
|Rocky Mountain Sketches (4), for violin & piano, Op. 11|
|Poème pastoral, songs (6) for voice & piano|