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Daniel Hope releases Air. A baroque journey on DG this March

Versatile British violinist Daniel Hope, who performed last week at the German parliament (the Bundestag), follows his muse from Bach to Berg and from Mendelssohn to Messiaen, not to mention collaborating with the likes of Sting and Klaus Maria Brandauer.  Hope’s last album – featuring Vivaldi concertos, a sonata, and an aria with Anne Sofie von Otter – has been nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance.  Now the latest fruit of Hope’s exclusive relationship with Deutsche Grammophon, to be released on March 16 in the U.S., is a return to the Baroque alongside soloists from the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.  Hope’s Air. A baroque journey is a pan-European exploration of an adventurous era, taking in works by the rarely-heard Falconieri and Valente, dramatic gems by Westhoff and Marini, folk-accented dances from Matteis, Leclair, and Ortiz, full concertos by Telemann and Geminiani, and individual takes on such evergreens as Pachelbel’s Canon, the folk tune “Greensleeves”, and Bach’s sublime Air.

BBC Music magazine has already weighed in on Air. A baroque journey, calling it “a striking demonstration of the sheer variety and invention of Baroque violin composers.”  And Gramophone magazine was even more lavish in its praise, exclaiming:

This is an exciting disc, with a heady, pied-piper power over the listener that comes from realizing that the bright sense of discovery once felt by these composers is being experienced just as much by their modern-day interpreters.  You can’t ask for much more than that.”

Pointing out how the stylistic and geographical cross-pollinations of the Baroque reflect the period’s spirit of “anything goes,” Hope says he is “fascinated by the radical change that took place at this time in history.”  He continues:

“You can feel the breakthrough after the Renaissance.  Suddenly, real individuals emerge, itinerant musicians like Nicola Matteis who traveled around Europe, bringing completely different music with them.  It was a time of movement.  This music has variety, wit, and vitality, and much of it was written to create an effect.  Musicians wanted to please their audiences and to receive new commissions.”

In the CD booklet introduction to Air. A baroque journey, Hope writes about tracing the way music and musicians traveled in the 17th and 18th centuries: how a traveling composer-violinist such as the Italian Geminiani could influence the German-born Handel, how the Dresden-based Westhoff could inspire the Thuringian Bach, how the folk tunes of the British Isles could be heard in the compositions of the Neapolitan Matteis.  The album represents the original ideal of crossover or, as Hope puts it, the sound of “cultural exchange taking place between musical minds across borders.”

Hope will help launch Air. A baroque journey in the U.S. with a live event in New York City (location TBD) on April 5.  In January, when he played his Air program to inaugurate the Elgar Room, the Royal Albert Hall’s new performance venue, Britain’s Guardian newspaper described Hope’s: “artistry of breathtaking vitality” and the way “a tenderness of extraordinary richness took hold of the room,” concluding that “This was a memorable evening’s music-making.”  The violinist has a dedicated web site for the album:  The site features streams of tracks from Air, along with video and print interviews with Hope about the disc and his collaborators (including wonderful second solo violinist Lorenza Borrani).  Hope talks about some of his favorite tracks on the disc, which include the transcription of a plaintive harpsichord Sarabande by Handel.  And he rhapsodizes about another of the program’s wandering Italians: lutenist-composer Andrea Falconieri:

“Falconieri was this outrageous character.  He loved good wine, good women; he traveled throughout Europe and set everybody afire with his enthusiasm… . Just listen to his pieces: they have rhythm to them, a groove, this great improvisatory quality.  In those days, it wasn’t just desirable to be able to improvise; it was law, as it is with jazz musicians today.  I have the feeling that people were willing to take more risks in the Baroque era than in the Renaissance.  The spontaneity is part of what makes this period so individual.  Those wigs are deceptive.”


Performance at German Parliament

At the invitation of the German President, Horst Köhler, Daniel Hope performed at the German parliament (the Bundestag, formerly known as Reichstag) on January 27, the day Germany dedicates to remembering the victims of the Nazis and the Holocaust.  Becoming the first violinist to appear in the Bundestag, Hope played his own arrangement for solo violin of Ravel’s Kaddish in a special ceremony that featured guest speaker Shimon Peres, the President of the State of Israel.  Also in attendance were German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the entire German cabinet with all the Federal Ministers.  Hope’s inclusion was a natural fit, as he is a current German resident whose grandparents and great grandparents were forced to flee Berlin in 1938.  The ceremony will be broadcast live on German television.


Hope returns to U.S. and debuts video blog

Hope returns to the U.S. this spring for his seventh season as Associate Artistic Director of the Savannah Music Festival in Georgia, where he joins such players as violinist Lorenza Borrani, cellist Gautier Capuçon, and pianist Gabriela Montero in the “Sensations” chamber series that he curates.  From March 23 to April 3, the series features repertoire ranging from Mozart, Brahms, and Dvorák to a program of American music and another dedicated to such Theresienstadt composers as Erwin Schulhoff, Gideon Klein, and Pavel Haas.

Hope’s Mendelssohn collection on DG was selected by the New York Times as one of 2008’s best recordings, and Los Angeles audiences will have two opportunities to hear his interpretation of the composer’s seminal Violin Concerto, first on March 20 at the Alex Theatre and then on March 21 at UCLA’s Royce Hall, with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra under conductor-pianist Jeffrey Kahane on both occasions.  Kahane will join the violinist to perform Schulhoff’s Double Concerto for violin and piano in Hope’s arrangement of the original for flute and piano.  The program also includes Kurt Weill’s Symphony No. 2, and the UCLA concert is a benefit for James Conlon’s Orel Foundation, dedicated to recovering music suppressed by the Nazis.  It precedes a UCLA Conference on Suppressed Music at which Hope and Kahane will perform sonatas on April 7.

When not making music, Hope is an enthusiastic writer and broadcaster.  He recently debuted a wide-ranging video blog on his redesigned web site,  So far, Hope’s vblog has presented his conversations with the rock icon Sting, on the nexus of popular and classical music; mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, on music composed in the Nazi concentration camp Theresienstadt; and veteran conductor-scholar Christopher Hogwood, on Mendelssohn.  And Hope’s talents are not confined to new media – he has written two German-language books, including the acclaimed family memoir-investigation Familienstücke (Family Album), a bestseller in Germany.  In September, Hope published his second book in German, Wann darf ich klatschen? (When Do I Clap?), which has enjoyed several weeks in the bestseller lists.  Hope’s web site details all of his wide-ranging activities – as performing artist, broadcaster, author, musical activist, and producer – at

Last season, the intrepid violinist premiered Peter Maxwell Davies’s Violin Concerto No. 2, “Fiddler on the Shore”, with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, before reprising the work in London at the BBC Proms.  Joining forces with von Otter and pianist Bengt Forsberg, Hope toured Europe with a program of music composed by prisoners at Theresienstadt, later later recording it for DG.  The violinist also performed on If on a Winter’s Night…, Sting’s hit album of acoustic meditations on the winter season.  Recently Hope triumphed in two performances of the Elgar Violin Concerto with the Oslo Philharmonic.  In his review of the performance in Aftenposten, Norway’s leading newspaper, Olaf Eggesvik wrote:

“The work is incredibly demanding for both soloist and orchestra.  However, Daniel Hope is a suitably brilliant performer and interpreter.  The way he forced this 50-minute long musical development into one single stretch without even one uninteresting minute is nothing short of miraculous… . Hope could gather the entire British Commonwealth in one sul tasto, and his phrasing superbly unfolded the special, heroic, and nostalgic feeling of life from before the collapse of everything that once was.”


Daniel Hope’s U.S. engagements

March 20-21, 2010
Los Angeles, CA
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor
Schulhoff/Hope: Double Concerto
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / Jeffrey Kahane, piano and conductor
Performances in: Alex Theatre (March 20); Royce Hall (March 21)

March 23, 2010
Savannah, GA
Telfair Academy
Arensky: String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 35 
Brahms: Sextet No. 1 in B-flat, Op. 18
Daniel Hope, violin; Benny Kim, violin; Philip Dukes, viola; Carla-Maria Rodrigues, viola; Keith Robinson, cello; Eric Kim, cello

March 25, 2010
Savannah, GA
Telfair Academy
Dvorák: Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-flat, Op. 87
Brahms: String Sextet No. 2 in G, Op. 36
Daniel Hope, violin; Gabriela Montero, piano; Gautier Capuçon, cello; Benny Kim, violin; Philip Dukes, viola; Carla-Maria Rodrigues, viola; Keith Robinson, cello; Eric Kim, cello

March 28, 2010
Savannah, GA
Telfair Academy
Mozart: Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, KV 478
Dvorák: Sextet in A, Op. 48
Daniel Hope, violin; Lorenza Borrani, violin; Philip Dukes, viola; Carla-Maria Rodrigues, viola; Keith Robinson, cello; Eric Kim, cello; Sebastian Knauer, piano; Benny Kim, violin

April 1, 2010
Savannah, GA
Temple Mickve Israel (America’s third oldest temple)
Schulhoff: String Sextet
Schulhoff: Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2
Gideon Klein: String Trio
Zikmund Schul: Two Chassidic Dances arranged for violin and cello
Pavel Haas: Suite for Piano
Daniel Hope, violin; Lorenza Borrani, violin; Jeffrey Kahane, piano; Benny Kim, violin; Philip Dukes, viola; Carla-Maria Rodrigues, viola; Keith Robinson, cello; Eric Kim, cello

April 3, 2010
Savannah, GA
Telfair Academy
Copland: Prelude for Piano Trio
Gershwin: Arrangements for Violin and Piano by Heifetz and Hope/Knauer
John Williams: Devil’s Dance (from The Witches of Eastwick)
O’Connor: String Quartet No. 3, “Old-Time”
Bernstein: Three Songs from West Side Story
Daniel Hope, violin; Benny Kim, violin; Mark O’Connor, violin; Carla-Maria Rodrigues, viola; Keith Robinson, cello; Eric Kim, cello

April 5, 2010
New York, NY
Location TBD
CD launch event
Selections from Air


Air. A baroque journey: track listing and credits

1.            ANDREA FALCONIERI (1585/6-1656): Ciaccona
2.            GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759): Sarabanda HWV 437, arr.: Olivier Fourés
3.            DIEGO ORTIZ (C. 1510-1570): Ricercata segunda
4.            FALCONIERI: “La Suave Melodia”
5.            BIAGIO MARINI (1594-1663): Passacalio à 3 & à 4 (from Per ogni sorte di stromento, Op. 22)
6.            NICOLA MATTEIS (+ after 1713): Diverse Bizzarrie sopra la Vecchia, Sarabanda o pur Ciaccona
7-8.            JOHANN PACHELBEL (1653-1706): Canon and Gigue for Three Violins and Basso continuo
9-11.            GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Concerto for Violino Concertato, Strings and Basso continuo in A minor
12.            JOHANN PAUL VON WESTHOFF (1656-1705): Imitazione delle campane (from Sonate a Violino Solo, Sonata III)
13.            MATTEIS: Ground after the Scotch Humour (from Ayrs for the Violin, Book 4, Suite in F major)
14-17:            FRANCESCO GEMINIANI (1687-1762): Concerto grosso no. 5 in G minor (arr. of Arcangelo Corelli’s Sonata for Violin and Basso continuo, Op. 5 No. 5)
18.            ANTONIO VALENTE (fl. 1565-1580): Gagliarda Napolitana, arr.: Olivier Fourés
19.            FALCONIERI: Passacalle à 3
20.            JEAN-MARIE LECLAIR (1697-1764): Tambourin
21.            ANON.: “Greensleeves to a Ground”, arr.: Olivier Fourés
22.            WESTHOFF: “La Guerra Così Nominata di Sua Maestà” (from Sonata in A major “La Guerra”)
23.            WESTHOFF: “Imitazione del Liuto” (from Sonate a Violino Solo, Sonata II)
24.            JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750): Air (from Overture BWV 1068)


Daniel Hope, violin

Lorenza Borrani, second solo violin

Lucy Gould, violin; Stewart Eaton, viola; William Conway, cello; Enno Senft, double-bass (soloists from the Chamber Orchestra of Europe)

Jonathan Cohen, cello; Kristian Bezuidenhout, harpsichord, organ; Stefan Maass and Stephan Rath, lute, guitar, theorbo; Hans-Kristian Jjos Sorensen, percussion

Recording: Nimbus Concert Hall, Wyastone, U.K., September 2009.  Executive producers: Alexander Buhr, Daniel Hope.  Producer: John West.  Recording engineer: Mike Hatch

Deutsche Grammophon CD 00289 477 8094

Available as download

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