Instrument of the Devil
- CDR 90000 041
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On Instrument of the Devil, gifted young violinist Rachel Barton Pine displays her technical prowess and the instrument's emotional range in an unusual, virtuosic program that, in her words, offers listeners something other than "the usual potpourri of encores."
This CD explores the mythic and frequent literary associations of the violin with death the Devil, inspired in part by pianist Earl Wild's recording of Liszt's music on diabolical themes (The Demonic Liszt), Miss Barton says. An essay by musicologist Todd E. Sullivan of Indiana State University traces the origins of the violin's otherworldly associations back to ancient Greek religious cults, who identified musical instruments with deities and their ethical attributes. By the 1500s, violins were linked with dancing, an activity denounced by religious conservatives. Tales of demonically endowed fiddle players first emerged during the 17th century -- an image that endures in today's pop culture.