New Classical Tracks®

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine rereleases a celebration of Black composers

Violinist Rachel Barton PineCourtesy


New Classical Tracks - Rachel Barton Pine (Extended)

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November 09, 2022

Rachel Barton Pine — Violin Concertos by Black Composers Through the Centuries (Cedille)

New Classical Tracks - Rachel Barton Pine


“You could say that the album that I've just rereleased is really the album that I would have made in 1997 had I only been able to back then,” violinist Rachel Barton Pine said about releasing a pioneering recording celebrating Black composers of the 18th and 19th centuries. “I couldn't be more excited.”

Pine is reissuing and refreshing this recording 25 years later as Violin Concertos by Black Composers Through the Centuries.

“We've all heard of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the wonderful Afro-French composer who was the greatest swordsman in Europe and an inspiration to Mozart,” she said. “But there is another composer from the same time, Chevalier de Meude-Monpas. There's no existing visual image of him, but all the musicologists for decades assumed that he must be of African descent because he was always called Chevalier.

“Years later they discovered that de Meude-Monpas had actually served in a regiment of the French army that all rode black horses. He was just a random white Frenchman, but he still composed an absolutely charming violin concerto,” Pine said. “I'm glad I got to perform it and record it, but it certainly no longer belongs on my album of violin concertos by Black composers.

“Back in ‘97, when I was looking for repertoire among the various 20th-century pieces, I encountered a single page from a Florence Price manuscript. I was told that she had written two violin concertos, but they were considered to be lost to the world forever. There was no hope. They would never be found. They would never be heard,” she said about her search for music. “A few years ago, this treasure trove of her manuscripts was discovered in an old trunk in an abandoned farmhouse. Sitting in there among all the symphonic and chamber music were indeed both of her violin concertos.”

To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Resources

Rachel Barton Pine — Violin Concertos by Black Composers Through the Centuries (Cedille official store)

Rachel Barton Pine (official site)