Saturday, January 11, 2014—7:30 PM
Macky Auditorium, CU Campus, Boulder
The brilliant Rachel Barton Pine joins the Boulder Phil for Berg’s masterful Violin Concerto, written in memory of Alma Mahler’s daughter, making poignant use of a Bach chorale. Short works by Bach and Mahler precede the concerto, and we conclude with another piece imbued with the spirit, and the music, of Bach—Brahms’ towering Symphony No. 4. It's Three B's with a twist...
Read Rachel Barton Pine's program notes on the Berg Violin Concerto
6:30 PM - FREE Pre-Concert Talk at Macky
Michael Butterman on KGNU's 'A Classic Monday' with Ron Nadel:
“This piece (Mahler's Blumine) has its origins in some incidental music that Mahler wrote for the dramatic poem, The Trumpeter of Sackingen,” said Michael Butterman, “which explains the prominence of the trumpet. It's a beautiful, calm, musical idyll that deserves to be performed more often than it is,” he said.
Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto, written in 1935, is the centerpiece of the first half of the concert. Berg was prompted to write this concerto to honor the memory of Manon Gropius, the daughter of Alma Mahler (Gustav Mahler's widow, by that time) and Walter Gropius. “It is a deeply emotional work that, like so many German compositions of that era, explores the idea of transfiguration or the transition from body to soul,” said Butterman. “Berg makes use of a tone row, which is a particular sequential ordering of all 12 notes of the chromatic scale. But far from being dry and calculated, the piece comes across as highly tonal and very expressive.”
Violinist Rachel Barton Pine, considered a true champion of the Berg Violin Concerto, makes her first appearance with the Boulder Phil. A classically trained violinist who makes her home in Chicago, Pine has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras and has worked with conductors including Charles Dutoit, Zubin Mehta, Marin Alsop, and Placido Domingo. Pine won a gold medal at the 1992 J.S. Bach International Violin Competition in Leipzig, Germany, and was the first American and the youngest person, at age 17, to ever win. She also received top honors from the Queen Elisabeth (Brussels, 1993), Kreisler (Vienna, 1992), Szigeti (Budapest, 1992) and Montreal (1991) International Violin Competitions, and won prizes for her interpretation of the Paganini Caprices at both the Szigeti Competition and the 1993 Paganini International Violin Competition in Genoa.
In addition to her expansive concerto repertoire, Pine is a fan of rock and heavy metal and delights in exploring the intersections and similarities with classical music. She performs on the Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu (Cremona 1742), known as the “ex‐Soldat.”
“The influence and inspiration of J.S. Bach is present throughout the concert, as both the Berg concerto and especially the Brahms symphony that follow make use of Bach's music in important ways,” said Butterman. “Berg makes extensive use of quotations from Bach's chorale setting for Es ist genug, a portion of whose melody is contained within the tone row undergirding the entire concerto. And Brahms, ever the scholar and historian, composes the entire finale of his symphony as a passacaglia based on a bass line taken from Bach's Cantata 150 (Nach Dir, Herr Gott, verlanget mich).”
Brahms Symphony No. 4 comprises the second half the concert. “It's a privilege to have the opportunity to perform anything by Brahms, but his four symphonies stand right at the apogee of musical perfection in my book,” said Butterman, “as they are all so profoundly beautiful as well as brilliantly constructed. In Brahms, we seem to have a fusing of the mind of Bach, the spirit of Beethoven, and the lyrical gift of Mozart. Brahms’ fourth symphony, so suffused with the interval of the third throughout, contains a rollicking scherzo and a finale that is essentially a series of continually evolving variations over a ground bass. You might not realize it, though, on first hearing, so fascinating is the surface detail that Brahms presents. The movement has an inexorable quality to it which brings the symphony, and the concert itself, to an assertive close.”
- From Press Release by Janet Braccio
Rachel Barton Pine, violin
"An exciting, boundary-defying performer - Pine displays a power and confidence that puts her in the top echelon."
~The Washington Post
“Barton is the real thing, a prodigious talent with obvious personality and a clear-eyed vision. Her technical skills can make the jaw drop. She has a full, singing sweet tone and plays with a confidence and elan that make an audience's heart soar."
~ Chicago Sun-Times
In both art and life, violinist Rachel Barton Pine has an extraordinary ability to connect with people. Her performances exude passion and conviction, and her honesty in communicating the core emotions of great works moves listeners worldwide. Audiences are thrilled and uplifted by her dazzling technique, lustrous tone, and infectious joy in music-making.
Pine has appeared as a soloist with many of North America’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Chicago, Montreal, Atlanta, San Diego, Baltimore, St. Louis and Dallas Symphonies; Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonics, and the Philadelphia and Louisville Orchestras. Overseas, she has performed with the Vienna, New Zealand, Iceland and Budapest Symphonies; the Royal Scottish and Belgian National Orchestras; the Mozarteum, Scottish and Israel Chamber Orchestras; the Royal and Russian Philharmonics, and the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie. She has worked with such renowned conductors as Charles Dutoit, Zubin Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf, Neeme Järvi, Marin Alsop, Placido Domingo and Semyon Bychkov. Her festival appearances have included Marlboro, Ravinia and Salzburg. She has collaborated with many living composers including Augusta Read Thomas, John Corigliano and Mohammed Fairouz and with such leading artists as Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, William Warfield, Christopher O’Riley and Mark O’Connor.
During 2011-2012, Pine celebrated four CD releases. Her June 2011, Capricho Latino on Cedille, is a stunning collection of 14 unaccompanied virtuoso pieces with a Latin flair, for which eight make their recording debut, including her own arrangement of Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz’s celebrated Asturias, which draws on both Francisco Tárrega’s familiar guitar transcription and Albéniz’s original but less-known score for piano.
Pine is an avid performer of baroque, renaissance and medieval music on baroque violin, viola d’amore, renaissance violin, and rebec. She regularly performs and records with John Mark Rozendaal and David Schrader as the period instrument ensemble Trio Settecento.
Pine writes her own cadenzas to many of the works she performs including concertos by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Paganini. In 2009, Carl Fischer published The Rachel Barton Pine Collection, a collection of original compositions, arrangements, cadenzas and editions penned or arranged by Pine, which earned her the distinction of being the only living artist and first woman to join great musicians like Fritz Kreisler and Jascha Heifetz in Carl Fischer’s Masters Collection series.
A fan of rock and heavy metal since her pre-teens, Pine’s ability to see the connecting threads between classical and rock music makes her the perfect bridge between generations of music fans. Hailed as an artistic ambassador, she often visits rock radio stations and rock clubs to perform her own arrangements of rock and metal songs followed by classical pieces to illustrate how the two genres share a similar intensity and compositional complexity, and help her to draw new listeners to classical music.
Pine is committed to encouraging the next generation to experience the transformative power of the arts. Her Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation assists young artists through various projects including the Instrument Loan Program, Grants for Education and Career, Global HeartStrings (supporting classical musicians in developing countries), and a curricular series developed in conjunction with the University of Michigan: The String Student’s Library of Music by Black Composers.
A Chicago native, Pine began violin studies at age three and made her professional debut four years later at age seven with the Chicago String Ensemble. Her earliest appearances with the Chicago Symphony (at ages 10 and 15) were broadcast on television. Her principal teachers were Roland and Almita Vamos and she has also studied with Ruben Gonzalez, Werner Scholz, Elmira Darvarova and several early music specialists. Pine resides in Chicago with her husband. She performs on the Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu (Cremona 1742), known as the “ex-Soldat,” on generous loan from her patron.