For the Record, Op. 237: Rachel Barton Pine, Kerson Leong, Tessa Lark

May 12, 2023, 3:57 PM · Welcome to "For the Record,"'s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Rachel Barton Pine
Violinist Rachel Barton Pine.

Malek Jandali Concertos
Rachel Barton Pine, violin
Anthony McGill, clarinet
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony, Marin Alsop conducting

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine is the soloist in Syrian American composer Malek Jandali's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (2014), a work written to honor "all women who thrive with courage," according to Jandali. The concerto features array of Syrian and Arabic music forms and folk melodies, making use of the oud (Arabic lute) to infuse the work with the authentic sound and feeling of Syria. "Just hearing that sound as I’m playing my music on this Western instrument in this Western symphony context was really very inspiring and helped me capture the flavor of what I was doing that much better," Pine said. The album also includes Jandali's Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (2021), performed by clarinetist Anthony McGill, who is also its dedicatee. BELOW: Composer Malek Jandali, violinist Rachel Barton Pine and conductor Marin Alsop talk about the music featured this album:

Britten and Bruch Violin Concertos
Kerson Leong, violin
Philharmonia Orchestra, Patrick Hahn, conducting

Violinist Kerson Leong performs two contrasting violin concertos on this album, along with Bruch’s "In Memoriam." "The Britten expresses a raw and exposed experience, while the Bruch is comforting and uplifting," Leong said. "After the last few years in which the world has experienced much difficulty and uncertainty due to pandemic, war, and crisis, recording this album...was a profoundly cathartic moment. It is in the spirit of catharsis that I offer this album." Leong was First Prize winner in the 2010 Menuhin Violin Competition. His first album was Ysaÿe's Six Sonatas for Solo Violin, in 2021. BELOW: Trailer for the album:

The Stradgrass Sessions
Tessa Lark, violin

Can you play bluegrass on a Stradivari violin? Tessa Lark did, and it inspired a new genre for her: "Stradgrass." Here Lark presents "The Stradgrass Sessions," a fusion of classical, folk and bluegrass, featuring special guest artists Sierra Hull, Edgar Meyer, Michael Cleveland and Jon Batiste. "This album is a snapshot of the way I live in music; diversely, organically, intimately, sometimes collaboratively, sometimes solitarily, always sincerely – and anywhere, be it a concert hall or home studio," said Tessa. BELOW: Tessa talks about the album:

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May 13, 2023 at 09:44 PM · This is a 'For the Record' great, Laurie! Rachel Barton Pine is a superb violinist and a leader and guide for all who want to see what music may mean and where it can lead us, as individuals and social beings. Kerson Leong was a new name for me, but I was impressed by his thoughts on the Britten concerto and his rationale for pairing Britten with Bruch. And who doesn't love bluegrass?!!

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Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine