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Scottish Fantasies for Violin

Fiddle; Platt; Scottish Chamber Orchestra Pine; Fraser , Bruch; Saraste; Mackenzie; Mce Audio CD

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Disc: 1
1. Max Bruch: Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46
2. Pablo de Sarasate: Airs ecossais, Op. 34
Disc: 2
1. Sir Alexander Mackenzie: Pibroch Suite, Op. 42
2. Sir John Blackwood McEwen: Scottish Rhapsody ("Prince Charlie")
3. Rachel Barton Pine.Alasdair Fraser: Medley of Scots Tunes
4. Video Documentary: "The Making of Scottish Fantasies"

Product Description


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars really, really good June 30 2005
By mcerner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
A very pleasant, often lively, evocative and enjoyable set of CDs. The video documentary included in the second CD tells about how Barton Pine studied Celtic/Scottish music before making her recording, and the extra work shows in her ability to render the Bruch as a far lovelier recording than any other violinst has. She finds the tensions, the delicacies and the warmth of this piece. Add to that, the Sarasate is also beautifully done -- sorry it was so short a piece. On the second CD, the Mackenzie and the McEwen, not heard that often, are also really well done. This isn't fiddling -- you get true classical versions of the folk tunes hidden in these selections. Because of that, Barton Pine brings out nuances that were never before explored, and she does it by showing you just how good, how rich, this music can be. The final piece, Barton Pine's arrangement of scottish tunes, is also enjoyable --a fun way to end an album that is both relaxing and delightful. Highly recommended.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scottish fantasies at their best Nov. 14 2006
By Vera Kolb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This double CD is a real treasure, and a showcase of both the musicianship and scholarship. Rachel Barton Pine has researched both the composers and the history of the performances of the works she has recorded. She has produced the most attractive booklet which goes with the CDs, in which she teaches the subject in an effective, friendly and captivating way. Particularly interesting is her documentation of Sarasate's familiarity with Scottish fiddling. Rachel Barton Pine has also a very attractive and informative web site on which one can find information about this project. Just "Google" her and her site comes right up. I think that her web site is great. One can find the schedule of her concerts and all sorts of interesting educational things. I only wish that all great performers would do the same.

Rachel Barton Pine is a virtuoso, but her musicianship shines and it makes her virtuosity just a tool. She is so much more than the flying fingers. In a winning combination with Maestro Alexander Platt, an immensely talented conductor, they have produced a classic which will be listened to for years to come. There may never be a comparable Scottish Fantasy and Pibroch Suite performance. Mr. Platt leaves no note unexpressed. As opposed to the lesser conductors, who sometimes overpower the soloist, or who seek their own limelight at the expense of the soloist, Mr. Platt achieves a perfect union of the soloist and the orchestra, just as it should be. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra is also at its best.

These records' main value is in the interpretation, which is insightful and elegant. There are no over-interpretations, however, in which the soloist or orchestra would push their own detailed view of this music. Instead, certain dreaminess is allowed, and the listeners can build their own Scottish Fantasies and become active participants in this music.

Sarasate's Airs écossaise is a totally charming piece. The Medley of Scots Tunes, by Rachel Barton Pine and Alasdair Fraser, a master Scottish fiddler, is an event. I admit to listening to it consecutively eight times, and would have listened to it more times, but was afraid of a total addiction.

The great art of fiddling, the artists' dreams about their countries of origin, pictures of beautiful Scotland, and the musical finesse and musicianship are all the impressions you will come out with after listening to these great recordings.

This review is dedicated to Dr. Andrew B. Dempster for his birthday. Andrew has shown me his native country, Scotland, and guided me through its history. I came back with wonderful memories, and a book of music sheets on Scottish fiddling, my most precious music sheets ever.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant final movement in the Bruch but... April 18 2011
By Andrew Thornley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The sheer brilliance of Pine's playing in the final movement of the Bruch Fantasy is worth paying for. But on the whole the Scottish Fantasy falls short of perfection, with her playing too light in many sections and lacking the Romantic essence which is part of Max Bruch. The orchestra fails too in its support of her own search for a deep and fufilling interpretation. I prefer the playing of Salvatore Accardo with the London Symphony under Colin Davis. There is a richness and a depth about this rendition which surpasses even the technical aptitude of Pine. Having said that, the combination of the Bruch with the other pieces makes this CD an acquisition well worth having in your classical collection.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get much more Scottish than this! Aug. 27 2009
By D. DEGEORGE - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This 2-CD set consists of various Scottish fantasies performed by violinist Rachel Pine and "fiddler" Alasdair Fraser. I have only listened to the Bruch, but that has given me more than enough upon which to comment:

The trouble with this recording is that it could make one not want to listen to any others, which would be a shame because the Heifetz recordings deserve their status as definitive. (I have in mind the nicely engineered 1961 stereo version with Sir Malcolm Sargent. Bruch: Concerto for violin in Gm; Scottish Fantasy) Indeed, I never thought I would hear a performance to challenge Heifetz's; in one sense this recording does just that: it is now my co-favorite with Heifetz's; but in another way it cannot challenge Heifetz's because the respective approaches operate as if in different dimensions. Both find the heart and soul of the music but in almost opposite ways: Heifetz's is fire-and-ice cool but simultaneously intense (doesn't sound possible; but that's the miracle of Heifetz); Pine`s is more relaxed and overtly soulful. Pine summons as much virtuosity as Heifetz when appropriate, including his fearless tempi. There was one spot in the first movement where Pine had less intensity than Heifetz and less than I would have liked, but she proves later on that that was an artistic choice, as she had plenty of fire to breathe when needed. (I am sorry to bring up the Heifetz so much, but I know of no other recording against which it is worth comparing.)

She has an entirely different approach to maximizing the emotional impact of the piece, using fewer slides than other violinists, instead bending phrases with such exquisite perfection that one is moved to tears, sometimes wistful, sometimes joyful. Rarely have I heard a classical piece "sold," as in the way a torch-song singer would interpret an evergreen, to such great effect.

Decorating the piece as if illuminations on an ornate sacred manuscript, Pine sprinkles Scottish ornamentation all over the place, beginning sparingly but working up to a degree that sent chills of delight up and down my spine. This must surely be the most Scottish of all the world-class performances of this work. All in all, she took rather greater liberties than usual for a classical performance, but for me they were all in unerringly good taste, highly individualistic yet not self-indulgent nor in violation of the musician's duty to channel the composer. The difference between this and less successful efforts at freshening up an old favorite is that this interpretation is so *honest*; there is no trace of arbitrariness, no sense that the artist is doing something just to be different. She does wear her heart on her sleeve, but in the very best of ways: intelligently and always in control.

A violinist friend of mine with whom I listened to this recording, remarked that there was a time in which women violinists made a point of playing especially vigorously, overcompensating for their gender, in order to compete with the men, and that he was very pleased to observe that in the playing of Ms. Pine that era was behind us. Clearly this is a woman comfortably at home with employing femininity in her playing when it serves the cause of the music; and the ability to be soft and muscular at different times in the same piece adds so much more color and variety than anything inhibited by issues of masculinity or femininity. The matter of color is one in which Heifetz and Pine converge from different directions--they both have it to a far greater degree than many late twentieth-, early twenty-first-century violinists; and yet, again, they achieve it in quite different ways, Heifetz with an arsenal of bowing, sliding, and vibrato techniques; Pine, with rubato and ornamentation.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra provides sensitive, precise, and spirited accompaniment; and the engineers have bestowed exemplary sound. I simply cannot praise this recording enough, and I must beg the reader not to attempt to make a choice between the Heifetz and this one; with the exception of those who consider any soulful outpouring as too sentimental, everyone should own both recordings.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging Anthology Dec 31 2012
By J. R. Trtek - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The performance of Bruch's Scottish Fantasy on this release is on the whole good, though it just doesn't come close to the vintage and venerated recording by Heifetz and Sargent on RCA, despite the fact that, as another reviewer noted, the playing of Rachel Barton Pine in the final movement is breathtaking. The Bruch is accompanied on the first disc by Sarasate's Airs ecossais, a multi-faceted and engaging composition delicately and lithely played by the forces involved. The real treat, though, comes on the album's second disc, with Alexander Campbell Mackenzie's Pibroch Suite, the Prince Charlie Rhapsody by John Blackwood McEwen, and arrangements by Barton Pine and Alasdair Fraser of Scots Tunes. Both the Mackenzie and McEwen pieces are solemnly drenched in Scot sensibilities, and the Scots Tunes Medley is lively and all-too-short at just under six minutes. All in all, a fantastic assembly of music, and recommended.

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