Jaunty Baroque Rhythms and Just a Tiny Bit of Nirvana

​Review of Seattle Baroque Orchestra Presents 'Dresden Concertos' with Rachel Barton Pine by River Valadez


After walking into Town Hall Seattle and sitting down to watch the pre-performance lecture given by Rachel Barton Pine, a stunningly odd instrument revealed itself: a violin-looking thing with a multitude of strings and an awfully large head stock. What must it be? The viola d’amore! This instrument of the violin string family was born in the 1700s and popularized around the same time.

With viola d’amore in hand, Rachel Barton Pine — player of the night and virtuoso — baroque the house down! It was hard to Handel her amazing performance of Vivaldi and others.

All joking aside, Pine did an immaculate job coaxing out the sophistication of both the composers and her instruments. The last movement of Pisendel’s Violin Concerto in D Major was one of the most magical moments of the concert. Steve Creswell, viola, melodically bouncing his head about in enjoyment encapsulated just how Pine moved people with her music.

The audience’s favorite of the night was the Handel Concerto Grosso in G minor, as they broke the unspoken rule of waiting to clap till the end of all the movements and gave a standing ovation half way through — an amazing sight in itself! Pine was stunned and extremely enthused, and then continued on with an engaging last movement.

The undoubtable highlight was a unique, post-concert arrangement. Pine vowed to herself that in her first concert in Seattle she would perform music by one of her favorite Seattle artists. She carried out her plan, resulting in one the most riveting interpretations of music by Nirvana that stunned the entire audience. Hearing the thrashing sounds of the harpsichord and the intense strings was unlike anything else. It was a great tribute by a great artist.

Seattle Baroque Orchestra Presents 'Dresden Concertos' with Rachel Barton Pine was a one-night event.
Rachel Barton Pine is a finalist in Seattle Baroque Orchestra's search for a new director.
Early Music Guild

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