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Joshua Cohen
Fanfare, November 2016

…Rachel Barton Pine’s program of Vivaldi concertos for viola d’amore brings together a glorious Baroque composer for strings with an extraordinary—but still somewhat esoteric—string instrument. The conventional viola is generally regarded as the alto of the string family, but the viola d’amore is more of a high mezzo, combining the shining purity and flexibility of the violin with some of the grainy warmth of the viola. It’s a wonderful timbre, and these are wonderful pieces, magnificently performed. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Michael De Sapio
Fanfare, November 2016

The viola d’amore’s silvery sonorities, and Rachel Barton Pine’s easy way with them, are enough to impress a listener who, like me, is normally resistant to Vivaldi’s charms. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Johan van Veen
musica Dei donum, August 2016

…Rachel Barton Pine delivers very good performances. She plays with much panache and Ars Antigua follows her all the way. The ensemble plays with six violins, two violas, two cellos and violone. …Hopkinson Smith is a sensitive partner in the Concerto RV 540. © 2016 musica Dei donum Read complete review

Em Marshall-Luck
MusicWeb International, April 2016

How refreshing to find not just another recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but, instead, a disc of all of his Concertos for Viola d’Amore. …They are works full of beauty, invention and refinement that are well worth a listen. One’s initial impression is of music of tremendous elegance and poise, and of top-quality performances from Rachel Barton Pine and Ars Antigua. It is immediately apparent that these are skilled and passionate performers, who handle the music very deftly indeed, with plenty of sparkle in the fast movements and a good sense of dignity and grace in the slower movements. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, March 2016

Pine is nothing short of fantastic. Performing on the aforementioned, original condition, 12-string, Nicola Gagliano viola d’amore, she infuses these concertos with irresistible vim, vigor, and vitality. …vibrant readings by Pine and Ars Antigua.

…this one is a must-have. A rave recommendation. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Andrew Quint
The Absolute Sound, February 2016


It’s hard to imagine a more versatile violinist than Rachel Barton Pine, now in her early 40s. She plays the big Romantic concertos with major symphony orchestras but is also regarded as a leading baroque violin specialist, performing and recording with her period instrument ensemble Trio Settecento. She’s comfortable as well with non-classical genres, including Celtic, folk, and—believe it or not—thrash/doom metal. So it’s no surprise that Pine turns out to be among the world’s leading exponents of the arcane viola d’amore, a viol-related instrument that surfaced in Europe in the late 1600s. …Antonio Vivaldi’s eight concertos are a mainstay of the repertoire. Stylishly accompanied by the period-instrument Ars Antigua, and joined for the one double concerto by the distinguished lute player Hopkinson Smith, Pine is unfazed by the episodically formidable technical demands and plays with touching expressiveness. © 2016 The Absolute Sound Read complete review

Charles Brewer
American Record Guide, January 2016

There is no doubt that this new release is the best available recording. Both Mackintosh and Biondi sound weak when compared to the rich sound produced by Pine and her original condition instrument by Nicola Gagliano. …this is a recording that should make fans of anyone who has never heard the viola d’amore before. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

David Hurwitz, November 2015

…the sonics are drop-dead gorgeous and the balances are absolutely perfect… © 2015 Read complete review

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, November 2015

The A minor Concerto…is sunny and affirmative, with an appealing clarity and a seemingly endless flow of ideas that would rate it with Vivaldi’s most immediately popular concertos. With its flurry of 16th note triplets at the end of the opening Allegro, the lyrical charm of its Andante, and the series of up-bow staccatos in the Allegro finale, this work is both technically challenging and an audience-pleaser. © 2015 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

WQXR (New York), October 2015

Rachel Barton Pine is a violinist of voracious curiosity, with a wide repertoire and interest in many neglected and obscure corners of the repertoire (including heavy metal!). For her latest release, she explores eight of Vivaldi’s concertos for the Viola d’amore, a violin relative with extra strings and widely varied tunings, ranging from the sunny A Major Concerto (RV 396) to three D minor concertos, each notably serious for the prodigious Italian composer. © 2015 WQXR (New York)

Kara Dahl Russell
The WSCL Blog, October 2015

Regular WSCL listeners know that rarity ranks high with me, and here we have one of the top violinists in the world picking up one of history’s more obscure intruments (playing a beautiful historic one from 1774) and recording concertos composed for it by one of history’s favorite composers. This follows closely on Pine’s recent 3 CD set of the works of Veracini with Trio Setticento, so we can only assume she is going through a Baroque phase and let out a collective sigh of pleasure! © 2015 The WSCL Blog

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor, October 2015

…The sound is remarkably transparent: coherent as an ensemble yet with almost every instrument clearly defined. A light ambient glow highlights the proceedings as well, giving the recording an extremely lifelike feel. The soloist appears well placed among the other players, never too far forward, and the ensemble has a strong dimensional feel without being too wide or too narrow across the sound stage. The frequency response seems quite wide as well, with a welcome sparkle at the high end; and dynamics seem equally wide, so the whole thing comes off like a live performance in your living room. © 2015 Classical Candor Read complete review

Lawrence Schenbeck
PS Audio, October 2015

…the pyrotechnics of Gli incogniti and [Rachel Barton Pines’] gorgeous sound totally justify lighting two more candles for the Red Priest. © 2015 PS Audio Read complete review

Rick Anderson
Baker & Taylor CD Hotlist, October 2015

…the brilliant Rachel Barton Pine’s love of the instrument is palpable on this collection of eight concertos. These are works rarely recorded on the instrument for which they were written, so all classical collections should seriously consider picking up this disc. © 2015 Baker & Taylor CD Hotlist Read complete review

Gary Lemco
Audiophile Audition, October 2015

The set of eight concertos Pine inscribes here reveals Vivaldi in his typically inventive and coloristic diversity, with bountiful passages that exploit terraced dynamics, singing, cheerful ritornellos, and usage of the scordatura tuning and bariolage effects of which the instrument is capable.

To say that the whole disc has been rendered con amore merely states the obvious. © 2015 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

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