'Solo Baroque,' Music of Bach, Westhoff, Biber, and Pisendel Rachel Barton Pine, Baroque Violin
Mainstream violinists used to play Baroque music out of a sense of duty, but Rachel Barton Pine clearly does it out of love, and with an original-configuration 1770 Nicola Gagliano instrument, at that. She draws from her violin a warmer tone than is usually heard from Baroque instruments, but there's nothing romanticized about her approach, which is full of properly sighing phrases and expert ornamentation. Bach bookends this collection: the Sonata No. 1 in G minor and the Partita No. 2 in D minor. Even more interesting material lies between those two monuments: a suite by Johann Paul von Westhoff, the superb Passacaglia in G minor by Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber, and a sonata by Johann Georg Pisendel, all close contemporaries of Bach's.
Throughout, Barton Pine is especially effective in the introspective movements. She also has fun with the faster material, especially the gigues that swing (in Bach) and twitter (in Pisendel). If Barton Pine doesn't quite manage to bring a unified overall conception to these performances, she clearly understands that many of these movements must dance, yet she's at her best when she helps the music sing.