Sunday, April 13, 2008

Rachel Barton Pine: Scottish Fantasies

Scottish Fantasies for Violin & Orchestra

Classical violinist Rachel Barton Pine is an explorer, always. In this case her ventures have taken her to the history of Scottish folk music as seen through the eyes of classical composers. In this two CD set, she offers perhaps the most well known of such works, Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy Opus 46, along with a composition by a man better known as one of the top classical violin players of the nineteenth century, Pablo de Sarasate. Barton Pine presents Sarasate’s Aires ecossais, op. 34. She includes works of two Scots composers, as well, Alexander Campbell Mackenzie and John Black wood McEwen, Barton Pine rounds off the two disc set by joining with folk fiddle player Alasdair Fraser for a medley of Scots folk tunes.

One thing that stands out is Barton Pine knows how to present the classical line heart of her pieces while respecting their folk sources, and she has good fun playing with Fraser on the folk tunes as well. Not to mention she is a fine player, much awarded and well respected by musicians and music fans around the world. She thinks about the folk sources of the works she chooses with a classical musician’s point of view, and adds dimension of both sides of that genre divide by her playing. There’ s a short video documentary, “The Making of Scottish Fantasies,” included on the second disc. It’s a really well done perspective on the how Barton Pine and her fellow musicians went about this work -- and some fine session footage too.

you may also wish to see
Music Road: Music for St Andrew's Day: music of Scotland

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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