Blues Dialogues: Music by Black Composers / Barton Pine, Hagle
Violinist Rachel Barton Pine, “an exciting, boundary-defying performer” (Washington Post) known for her “bravura technique and soulful musicianship” (New York Times), headlines a groundbreaking album of blues-influenced classical works for violin and violin and piano by 20th and 21st century composers of African descent.
World-premiere recordings include Noel Da Costa’s ‘A Set of Dance Tunes for Solo Violin,’ based on American fiddle tunes; Daniel Bernhard Roumain’s ‘Filter,’ which conjures the sounds of electronic dance music and psychedelic guitar; Errollyn Wallen’s ‘Woogie Boogie,’ a humorous and inventive reimaging of the boogie woogie blues dance; and Billy Childs’s ‘Incident,’ a single-movement violin sonata / tone poem written as a response to a fatal shooting by police. Another premiere is Wendall Logan’s violin and piano arrangement of Duke Ellington’s 1935 composition, ‘In a Sentimental Mood.’ The album’s title track, Dolores White’s improvisational ‘Blues Dialogues,’ draws on classical, jazz, and country music, as well as African-American vocalizations and a blues harmonic language. David N. Baker’s gospel-tinged ‘Blues (Deliver My Soul)’ evokes the ecstatic energy of a Black church service. Charles S. Brown’s ‘A Song Without Words’ was inspired by bottleneck guitar player and gospel blues master Blind Willie Johnson. Each movement of William Grant Still’s ‘Suite for Violin and Piano’ evokes the work of a different African-American visual artist. Clarence Cameron White’s ‘Levee Dance, Op. 26, No. 2,’ a favorite of violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz, surrounds a traditional African-American spiritual with a playful, syncopated dance. Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s ‘Blue/s Forms’ and ‘Louisiana Blues Strut’ befit a composer with a legacy of achievements in the classical, jazz, modern dance, and pop music worlds.
What a fascinating, beautiful disc… The disc’s title is valid: these really are ‘dialogues’ in the most creative and stimulating sense…Need it be said that Pine plays everything here gloriously… Listen to how unaffectedly she outlines the melody of Still’s central slow movement. In passages of virtuoso display, she’s as sure-footed and as agile as an acrobat.
This is a superb CD, clearly one of Barton Pine’s real masterpieces. Highly recommended to any other classical violinist who wants to tackle these works, and listeners who enjoy jazz and blues-influenced classical music.
– The Art Music Lounge
This is an amazing disc. Barton Pine and partner Matthew Hagle are to be commended for such a thoughtful, gracious, and inspiring program, recorded in Cedille’s typical robust and clear sound.
– Audiophile Audition
Catalog Number: CDR 182
Composer: ["Billy Childs, Charles Brown, Clarence Cameron White, Coleridge-Tayl Perkinson, Daniel Bernard Roumain, David Nathaniel Baker, Dolores White, Edward "Duke" Ellington, Errollyn Wallen, William Grant Still"]
Performer: Matthew Hagle, Rachel Barton Pine