ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When acclaimed violinist Rachel Barton Pine is on stage, it’s usually soloing with an orchestra, whether in Vienna, Montreal or Albuquerque.
Pine will depart from that conventional collaboration when she gives a solo recital on Jan. 15 at Simms Auditorium Albuquerque.
And she means solo. There won’t even be a pianist accompanying her.
“It’s a little bit of an unusual thing to have a violin alone. I wanted to show the range and variety of what the violin is capable of,” the Chicago-based Pine said in a phone interview. “The piano, of course, has multiple voices. With the violin, it’s a little trickier.”
She is scheduled to open the concert with J.S. Bach’s Partita No. 2 and close it with Niccolo Paganini’s famous Caprice No. 24.
“What Paganini really did was he elevated the violin’s color palette.
The No. 24 is his iconic work, and it takes you through a journey of possibilities. … He invented all of these tricks, and 200 years later it’s still super-challenging,” Pine said.
In between Bach and Paganini on the program will be compositions by Fritz Kreisler, Eugene Ysaye, Isaac Albeniz, Astor Piazzolla and others.
Pine said that when she began playing more music by Spanish and Latin American composers, she discovered the Argentine-born Piazzolla.
“He always included the violin in his concert band, but he didn’t write for violin. Violinists have played his flute etudes, though they’re more wind-like than string-like. I took my favorite of them, No. 3, and re-envisioned it as if Piazzolla had written it for the violin itself and imagined his tango band” to help inform her arrangement, she said.
At that point, Pine realized that the Etude No. 3 was in the same key and in the same tempo as his most famous tango, “Libertango.”
“I created my own finger-twisting version of that as I am playing the melody, the bass line and the harmony, simultaneously playing all three.
Yeah, it’s pretty crazy,” she said.
Pine has won many awards, including the Gold Medal in the 1992 J.S. Bach International Violin Competition. She was the first American and the youngest winner of that competition.
In 2012 she became the only living artist and the first woman to join Kreisler and Jascha Heifetz as part of Carl Fischer’s Master Collection Series.
Pine is also known for her initiatives in drawing new and younger audiences to classical concerts. Those initiatives include finding connections between classical and rock music and performing live on rock radio stations.