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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Beethoven & Clement Violin Concertos' (Cedille)
Artist - Rachel Barton Pine

American violinist Rachel Barton Pine has recently released a two-CD set of Franz Clement and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Violin Concertos. A native of Chicago, the 34 year old former prodigy, along with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, fulfils a life-long ambition to record this infrequently played classical piece that she first heard as a young child.

Rachel Barton Pine performs a centerpiece of the violin repertoire, the Beethoven Concerto, as well as the world premiere recording of Clement’s D Major Violin Concerto, unearthed from 200 years of obscurity. The album was recorded with the London Royal Philharmonic conducted by José Serebrier.

She tells the story of how she came to make this record; “In spring 2006, I received a call from the owner of my favorite sheet music store, Performer’s Music. Knowing of my fascination with lesser-known historic repertoire, he asked if I would be interested in the newly published first modern edition of Clement’s Violin Concerto in D Major. He read me a short essay about the piece and I placed my order immediately. When the score arrived, it only took one glance to know that I had found something special. It is an excellent composition, but what really startled me were the aesthetic similarities to Beethoven’s masterpiece”.

Ludwig van Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61, was written in 1806. The work was premiered on December 23, 1806 in Vienna. Beethoven wrote the concerto for his colleague Franz Clement, a leading violinist of the day, who had earlier given him helpful advice on his opera Fidelio. It is believed that Beethoven finished the solo part so late that Clement had to sight-read part of his performance.

As you would expect from the combined pedigree of Ms Pine and the RPO, the recording is a tour-de-force. She has been described as an extraordinary violinist that plays with astonishing ease and one that brings a polished tone, faultless articulation and astonishing intonation to her playing. On this album, Ms. Pine plays expressively, freely and, in all cases, appropriately. Her rhythmic and metric flex and dynamic and coloristic shadings contribute to the emotional investment that Beethoven’s music demands.

A tireless ambassador for classical music, Rachel Barton Pine is dedicated to community engagement and music education. In 2007, she received the prestigious Studs Terkel Humanities Service Awards for her work in music education. She frequently participates in pre-concert conversations, gives master classes, and presents programs in public schools. Her creative efforts to reach new audiences include appearances on rock radio stations and solo concerts in alternative venues. This, her thirteenth recorded release, is an exciting addition to her impressive body of work.

Peter ‘taB’ Walker