This summer the Cedille Record Label released a CD that features the renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine called “Dependent Arising.” This recording pairs Up Shostakovich’s 1st Violin Concerto with a brand new concerto written for Rachel Barton Pine by the American violinist, composer and heavy metal musician Earl Maneein.
This new Concerto which is called “Dependent Arising” draws inspiration from three things, Rachel Barton Pine’s personal love of all things metal, punk and hard core, Maneein’s intimate knowledge of the form through his work with the band Resolution15 and thirdly his deep Buddhist beliefs.
This is a virtuosic and relentless and absolutely fantastic concerto that pushes both the soloist and the orchestra to their technical and emotional limits while at the same time creating a cohesive and truly excellent piece of music.
Barton Pine has always been a passionate advocate of classical music and this latest release shows that heavy metal is no different to classical music in regards to expressing varied emotions while demanding high technical standards from the performer. “I try to find any way I can to bring more people to classical music. In the case of my fellow heavy metal fans it’s been really fun to introduce lots of rock listeners to classical over the years,” says Barton Pine, she goes on to state that “The subgenre of metal is very classically derived and this was very opening for me.” As the booklet to the CD points out, many rock and metal musicians are inspired by classical music. Barton Pine has talked with members of her favorite metal bands and composers such as Brahms, Locatelli, and Vivaldi are frequent inspirations for rock musicians.
The concerto “Dependant Arising” came about due to Barton Pine’s experience playing metal. She was actually in a metal band from 2009 to 2014. As Barton Pine explains “There are only a handful of heavy metal violinists in the entire US and Earl [Maneein] and I are two of them. So we all know each other… I thought ‘wouldn’t it be great to have music like this that I could play on my normal four string acoustic violin and be able to do it in classical concerts.’ So I reached out to Earl and asked him to write me an unaccompanied piece. I ended up playing his piece on a recital in New York City and Tito Muñoz the Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony was in the audience. He loved this piece so much…that he was like ‘oh my gosh….you need to write a violin concerto for Rachel to do with the Phoenix Symphony’ and that’s how it happened.”
The other work on the recording is Shostakovich’s 1st violin concerto, which works very well as a partner to the Maneein concerto. Metal is very often an expression of unsatisfying world around metal musicians, whereas much of Shostakovich’s music is a reaction to oppression he was experiencing from the Soviet regime. Both Maneein and Barton Pine wanted to pair his concerto up with the Shostakovich. “There was no other possible piece that Earl and I would want to pair with his. Shostakovich is absolutely beloved by head bangers. There are certain rhythms and tempo changes that evoke certain emotional responses that Shostakovich uses to bring his music to life,” says Barton Pine. She goes on to point out that these compositional devices also make their way over to heavy metal.
The recording “Dependent Arising” was made with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra with Tito Muñoz conducting. The orchestral playing by the musicians of the RSNO is amazing and helps to adds fuel to the fire of Rachel Barton’s outstanding solo playing in both concertos. Whether you are a fan of metal or not his CD is well worth a listen.