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Dvorak & Khachaturian Violin Concertos is a wholly enjoyable coupling with Rachel Barton-Pine in good form throughout / MusicWeb International

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Rachel Barton-Pine is one of my very favourite violinists. There are a number of reasons for this but, in essence, it is her fusion of rock-solid yet scintillating technique allied to brilliant musicianship as well as intelligent and stimulating programming. The liner mentions that she has recorded 39 discs which, by definition, covers the bulk of the core violin repertoire as well as many fascinating rarities. Previously her albums have often been an interesting juxtaposition of the familiar and the rare. Here, although the coupling is unusual, each of the two concerti are well-known. 

Likewise the Royal Scottish National Orchestra are predictably fine and, with a trusty production team of Andrew Keener producing and Simon Eadon engineering, this is a handsome-sounding disc. I do not know the work of conductor Teddy Abrams and my observation here is that his interpretations are solid and secure but not especially characterful. 

In the companion work on this CD - the brash and boldly coloured Khachaturian Concerto - Barton-Pine's musical personality and technical brilliance shine through. The RSNO recorded the work early in their fruitful collaboration with Neeme Jarvi for Chandos with violinist Lydia Mordkovich. It is a measure of Barton-Pine's playing that Mordkovich sounds harder worked by the Oistrakh-inspired solo part than does Barton-Pine who tosses it off with exactly the right combination of athletic bravura and sinuous sensuality. 

But again, one does return to the sheer skill of Barton-Pine's playing - in the same finale she plays with cross-rhythm accenting that is a vivacious delight. Likewise her playing of the Oistrakh cadenza in the first movement is as fine as I have ever heard. The Keener/Eadon production is reliably good as is the orchestral playing. Barton-Pine's liner note (in English, French and German) is appealingly personal and also full of useful detail and information. So if the concerti themselves appeal, this is a wholly enjoyable coupling of two fine works with Rachel Barton-Pine in good form throughout. However both works exist with more individual and nuanced orchestral accompaniments.

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