Friday, May 4, 2012
The Scottish Play
Pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m.
John Mark Rozendaal
Christ the King Lutheran Church, 7:30 p.m.
2353 Rice Boulevard, Houston, TX 77005 see map
Rising star violinist Rachel Barton Pine is joined by acclaimed cellist John Mark Rozendaal and harpsichordist David Schrader in a spirited program of Scottish baroque music including earthy, infectious Hebridean fiddling and the renewed pleasures of poetic works of Scotland’s classical composers. Even the Italian virtuosi Geminiani and Veracini get in on the action with Scottish-themed compositions.
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“Scotland, in the Baroque period, was unique among the regions of Europe,” said Trio Settecento violinist Rachel Barton Pine. Most places separated classical and folk music, but in Scotland there was no such differentiation. “You would have the same guy who was playing in the local musical society orchestra doing Vivaldi concertos and Handel oratorios one night, and then he’d be playing in a barn for a dance the next night. Same instrument.”
This free intermingling allowed for fertile crosspollination between classical and folk music in Scotland, and the Trio Settecento program will showcase that. The group plans to perform fiddle-tune medleys, as well as sonatas by Italian composers Francesco Veracini and Francesco Geminiani and little-known Scottish composers like Thomas Erskine (the Sixth Earl of Kellie) and John Reid, a general in the British army. There will also be what are known as variation sets, essentially sets of variations improvised by a fiddler on a given tune and written down for posterity.
More about the trio
Trio Settecento performs on period instruments in a historically informed manner. Pine plays a violin made in 1770 by Nicola Gagliano and still in its original condition. Bowed-string player John Mark Rozendaal sometimes plays a viola da gamba, but will perform on a Baroque cello in Houston, because the instrument was common in Scottish orchestras and folk bands during the 1700s. Completing the trio, David Schrader will play the harpsichord, though he is also adept on organ, piano and fortepiano.
Pine, Rozendaal, and Schrader first came together as an ensemble in 1996 to record Handel’s complete violin sonatas for Cedille Records. They were not yet known as Trio Settecento, only taking that name 1997, after the release of their successful Handel recording, which became Cedille’s top-selling CD for most of the following decade.
Besides touring throughout the U.S. the group has released three additional CDs. All recorded for Cedille, these comprise a survey of the European Baroque and include An Italian Sojourn (2007), A German Bouquet (2009) and A French Soiree (2011). The trio’s fourth CD of the series, An English Fancy, is planned for release this fall.
More about the ensemble members
Though both Rozendaal and Schrader specialize in early music, Pine is primarily known as a modern violin soloist, who has performed with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras. A child prodigy, she debuted with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1984 at age 10. Fanfare magazine described her as “one of the rare mainstream performers with a total grasp of Baroque style and embellishment.” On some 20 recordings and in a long touring career, she has delivered repertoire that ranges from medieval to modern in styles as diverse as classical and heavy metal.
She plays an electric Viper violin with the Chicago thrash-and-doom heavy metal band Earthen Grave. When not performing she oversees the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation, which assists young musicians through projects that include an instrument loan program, career and education grants, providing musical supplies to developing nations and maintaining a library of music by black composers.
Pine’s interest in Scottish music began in 2001, when the Wildwood Festival in Arkansas invited her to give a Scottish-themed recital. Intrigued by the intimate connection between classical and folk music in the country, she was soon studying Scottish fiddling with the likes of Alasdair Fraser. She released an album of 19th-century Scottish Romantic music in 2005 and has taught workshops during the last two summers at the Jink & Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling in North Carolina.
Rozendaal specializes in performing and teaching stringed instrument music from the Baroque and Renaissance eras. He was founding artistic director of the Chicago Baroque Ensemble and has performed solo and continuo roles with many period-instrument ensembles, including the Newberry Consort, Orpheus Band, Boston Early Music Festival Violin Band, the New York Consort of Viols, Repast Baroque Ensemble and others.
Schrader has appeared with the Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, and Colorado Symphony orchestras and at a host of prestigious festivals and music conventions. He performs regularly with Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, the Newberry Consort and the venerable Bach Week Festival in Evanston, Ill. He is a founding member of Baroque Band, Chicago’s premier period-instrument orchestra.