Rachel Barton Pine in Concert

Rachel Barton Pine’s concert at VCU in Richmond, VA last night was terrific. I hate driving into the city during the weekend but it was entirely worth it, even though I had to walk four and a half blocks from the parking garage in stilettos. My feet look like I tip toed the whole way in pointe shoes; but I don’t care cause real life Rachel Barton Pine, that’s why.

As an amateur violinist, I was particularly enthralled by her technique. Fortunately, when you only need to purchase a single ticket options open up; and I managed to snag a seat in the middle of the second row with a fantastic sight line. I was mesmerized by her deft fingering – so quick, with her fingers kept very close to the fingerboard and the fastest pinky trill I’ve ever seen. Her vibrato had enviable variation and depth, and her bow arm was perfection. That was the most controlled spiccato! Although I can aspire to that sort of virtuosity, it is unlikely that it is something I can achieve in this lifetime given my late start.

She played the following:

Duo in A Major for violin & piano – Franz Schubert

Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op 80 – Sergei Prokofiev

A set of 4 lullabies from her lullaby album:
Wiegenlied (Cradle Song) No. 4 Funf lieder, Op. 49 Johannes Brahams (yes, that one)
Reve d’Enfant (Child’s Dream) Op. 14 – Eugene Ysaye
Lullaby (1918) – Rebecca Clark
Mother & Child No. 2 from Suite (1943) – William Grant Still

Sonata in A major – Cesar Franck

Ms. Pine introduced the last piece as one that is featured in a mystery novel that recently came out in which she is a character. It’s called “Fleeting Note” by Sherban Young. I bought it last night for the Kindle. It’s a nice, light book and I look forward to finishing it.

I have to say though, the highlight of the evening was the Prokofiev Sonata. I swear I didn’t even breathe during it. Ms. Pine stated that it was written as a descriptive of war and you really felt that as she played. Two sections involved putting a mute on and were intended to evoke the wind in the graveyard. It was so spooky! The whole audience took a collective breath at the end. I don’t think I was the only one that was holding mine.

After the program was over she did a meet and greet in the lobby. She and her pianist, Matthew Hagle (who was marvelous, BTW) stayed until everyone was gone to sign books & CD’s. I picked up her 2 CD set of complete violin concertos, which she signed for me. She was so gracious even after I fangirled all over her.

I’ll leave you with the first movement of the Prokofiev sonata played by Oistrakh, for whom it was specifically written.


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