On Tuesday the 11th November, I was lucky enough to go with Alexandra Wylie to see Rachel Barton Pine in concert in the Cadogan Hall in central London. When we arrived the entrance hall was packed and buzzing with people, it was really exciting and we went to take our seats. The orchestra and conductor, (José Serebrier) came on shortly after and started to play.

The first piece that they played was Mozart’s “The Marriage Of Figaro Overture”. When this opera reached the stage in 1786 it was a huge success and I could definitely see why it is still one today. The semiquaver passages in the string section were so in unison and so perfectly in tune, it was really inspiring. There were really exciting crescendos and a powerful orchestral tutti and it really set the standards for the whole concert.

The next piece that was played was Brahms’ violin concerto in D major. I was really excited to see Rachel Barton Pine in real life and I could not wait to hear her play what is one of my favourite violin concertos. She came onto the big stage in a beautiful blue dress and I could not believe how calm her expression was. The viola and cello sections started the concerto with lovely warm sounding phrases and then there were dramatic chords and drums. The pianos were amazingly soft but still so energetic. Rachel came in with a fantastic-sounding arpeggio passage and then played many high notes that sounded like a soprano voice singing. The orchestra played beautifully under her fast-moving melody. I could really sense different moods being portrayed by her versatile and brilliant playing, and she had such confidence in her expressions and movements I could really relax listening to her play. She played a passage with just thirds in the first movement (Allegro non troppo) which sounded extraordinarily like two violins. When she played at the very top of her violin the sound was so clean cut and did not sound thin at all and her bow changing was seamless. When there were tuttis I loved how happy she looked to be listening to the orchestra play, I really had a sense of how much she enjoyed playing the concerto. When she played her first cadenza the audience was so mesmerised by her playing that apart from her, it was so silent in the hall you could have heard a pin drop. Out of the violinists I have ever gone to see play, I thought she was the best.

As the concerto went on Rachel just kept getting better. She was so inspirational to me as a young violinist that at times, without realising, I would stop writing what I was thinking about the piece and I just listened to her flawless playing. She was using the full length of her bow at all times and in the loud and fast passages of the movement it looked like it was going fly out of her hands any minute, but ofcourse it never did.

The third movement, (Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace) I recognised because it is a very famous movement. Very shortly after she slightly adjusted her seat she came in with an amazing dominant seventh passage which left the audience in awe, I was amazed at the speed her fingers were moving at! I really loved the question and answer passage there was between her and the woodwind section. She made everything look effortless.

In the interval Alexandra and I were discussing Rachel Pine’s playing and I told her that this concert had made me realise my mum could be right when she tells me to practice my scales more, because if I did, I could perhaps one day play like Rachel can. Alexandra said that Rachel is so good it makes her just want to give up her cello playing because we could never imagine being able to play like she does!

After the interval the orchestra went on to play Dvorak’s symphony No.8 in G major. It was full of heroic-sounding passages, wind and bird-like passages from the flutes and violins, brilliant phrasing from the whole orchestra and different textures (plucking in the violas and cellos while the violins played a descending scale and the woodwind played a sweet melody). There was also a beautiful flute solo, there were accelerandos and rits, very celebratory tutti passages and lots of imitative phrases happening.

After the concert finished we went into the entrance hall and were lucky enough to meet Rachel Barton Pine. She was very friendly and we didn’t really know what to say to her other than our genuine thanks to her for playing so incredibly well. We could not stop talking about how much we enjoyed the concert the whole way home and I am so grateful, as Im sure Alexandra is to have been able to have had the opportunity to hear such a talented and inspirational musician like Rachel Barton Pine. If everybody in England will love her playing as much we do, she will be extremely well known and popular here in no time!" Thank you for arranging it all. I hope you can tell from my review how much i enjoyed it!

Lulu Little, age 15

Lulu attended a concert on 11th November 2008 at Cadogan Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by José Serebrier, and soloist Rachel Barton Pine.