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Rachel Barton Pine

My NY Recital Debut! A Special Offer for You: Come Celebrate with Me

September 3, 2009 at 6:30 PM

Summer is nearly over and, like you, I’m really looking forward to the 2009-2010 season of music.  In fact, I'm as excited as I've ever been.  My fall touring begins on Tuesday, September 15, with my New York City recital debut.  Also this month, Cedille Records is releasing my 16th CD, "Trio Settecento: A German Bouquet," and Carl Fisher Music is publishing The Rachel Barton Pine Collection which contains my original compositions, arrangements, cadenzas, and editions.

None of this would have been possible without you and your support!  That's why I've made a special arrangement for you to attend my New York City recital debut on Tuesday, September 15 at 8pm.  The concert takes place in Symphony Space's beautiful 760-seat Peter Jay Sharp Theatre (2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York, NY 10025-6990), under the auspices of the New York Chamber Music Festival. I'll perform works by Pisendel, Mendelssohn, Corigliano, and Liszt (see below for more program information).

The New York Chamber Music Festival has generously agreed to make 100 tickets available to my friends at a special 50% discount of $17.  To receive this special offer, call the Symphony Space box office at 212-864-5400 and give the discount code RBPFAN.  This offer is available only by phone and no later than 6pm on Wednesday, September 9, so you must act quickly.

I look forward to sharing this memorable evening with you.  See you there!


Rachel :)

P.S. If you won't be in New York or won't be able to attend yourself, you can still use this offer for one or more of your New York friends as a special treat.

P.P.S.  After the concert, I’ll be in the lobby to sign programs and CDs, including my new album "Trio Settecento: A German Bouquet."  I'll also sign copies of my new book, "The Rachel Barton Pine Collection" from Carl Fischer Music. Be sure to stop by and say hi!


Pisendel was the foremost German violinist of the first half of the 18th century. Vivaldi, Albinoni, and Telemann all dedicated works to him. Pisendel's technical mastery is documented clearly in his Sonata in A minor. The technical demands are far more advanced than anything previously written for unaccompanied violin. The Sonata mixes aspects of Italian rhythm and melody with serious German counterpoint. The formal scheme is unusual, neither a church sonata nor a dance suite. The first movement is untitled, but is clearly in a slow tempo. Richly ornamented, all of the embellishments are fully written out. The chord changes are occasionally quite startling, and the effect is at turns rhapsodic and declamatory. Lombardic rhythm (short-long) is used in all three movements and in extended passages in the second movement, Allegro. The Giga and Variation are in counterpoint for two voices, with interesting examples of contrary motion.

Pisendel and Bach spent time together in Weimar in 1709 and continued to exchange music after they parted. The two likely met in Dresden in 1717, shortly after Pisendel finished his Sonata and probably just before Bach began writing his. It is interesting to note that Bach's first Partita, the only one in which he follows his movements with doubles, substitutes a Bourée and Double for the expected Gigue and Double. Perhaps this substitution was made out of respect for the final two movements of Pisendel's Sonata.

(Rachel Barton Pine, 2004)

Mendelssohn’s first sonata, in F major, dates from 1820 when the composer was still a lad of eleven; the second, in F minor, was written five years later and published as Op. 4; and the third (also in F major) is a work of Mendelssohn’s maturity, written in 1838, the same year as the First Cello Sonata but not published during the composer’s lifetime.

This 1838 sonata was discovered only in 1953 by Yehudi Menuhin. Menuhin wrote that it "has the chivalrous romantic quality of the age that produced Schumann, the elegance and lightness of touch of the age inherited from Mozart, and in addition the perfect formal presentation which Mendelssohn himself drew from Bach."

The sonata opens with a bold, striding subject almost Schumannesque in its vigor and richly textured writing. The piano is no mere accompanist, remaining an equal partner throughout. The slow movement features music of ravishing sweetness, passionate outbursts, and some of Mendelssohn’s most daring chromatic writing. There is even a short cadenza near the end. The last movement scampers along with characteristic Mendelssohnian fleetness and lightness of touch, racing to a brilliant finish.

(courtesy Robert Markow, 2009)

This Sonata is an optimistic, ultra-rhythmic, tonal-and-then-some duo for two masterful players.  I built the themes and harmonics of its four movements – Allegro, Andantino, Lento, and Allegro – all from a second and its inversion, a seventh.  The movements center, respectively, on C, D, G minor and D – but I freely included non-tonal and polytonal sections when needed.  I think its eclecticism, its rhythmic energy, and its bright character give the Sonata a very American quality, though that wasn’t the goal of writing it.

I didn’t so much develop the lively theme in the opening Allegro as herald it with a brief opening fanfare and then embed it in a detailed backdrop, like a stone in a mosaic.  Then, from those backdrop details, I built the first theme of the next movement, a gentle Andantino in a modified sonata form.  Three themes seem to intertwine in this movement, which peaks and peaks again before quieting – but a closer look should reveal that both the second and third themes are but variations of the first.  The third movement caps a tense, emotional violin soliloquy with hushed echoes of the sonata’s signal interval (the second) and the fourth movement, a rondo with a difference, takes a vivid polytriadic theme, and augmented variation on it, and accompanimental fugues from previous movements, and spins them all into a breathless and exuberant polymetric finale.

(courtesy John Corigliano)

Collecting the original violin works of Franz Liszt was one of the most challenging research projects I have ever undertaken. They are as interesting to interpret as they are satisfying to hear and to perform. Ranging from youthful works of Liszt's fiery virtuosic period to more introspective later compositions, they showcase his inventiveness and originality as a composer of chamber music. At all times, the violin and piano are equal partners.

Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 in C-Sharp Minor was originally written in 1847 for solo piano. The violin version was created in collaboration with violinist Joseph Joachim more than three decades later. It is a true reworking, not the straightforward transcription that another composer might have done. Liszt removes sections, adds new ones, and changes the figurations, giving us his "further thoughts upon the subject."

(Rachel Barton Pine, 2001)

From Royce Faina
Posted on September 3, 2009 at 8:44 PM



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