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Violinist Daniel Hope Releases For Seasons on Deutsche Grammophon, Combining Vivaldi with Schumann, Bach, Aphex Twin, Chilly Gonzales, Nils Frahm, Max Richter, More

British violinist Daniel Hope’s new Deutsche Grammophon CD, For Seasons, is scheduled for international release this spring on March 3. The album unites Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with a dozen pieces associated with the months of the year, from compositions by Rameau, Bach, Schumann and Tchaikovsky to recent works by Aphex Twin, Nils Frahm, Chilly Gonzales and Max Richter. Twelve visual artworks, specially selected to complement the music, are featured in the accompanying booklet.

The Four Seasons belongs to Daniel Hope’s earliest memories. As he recalls:

“I first experienced Vivaldi as a toddler at Yehudi Menuhin’s festival in Gstaad, in 1975. I heard what I thought was birdsong coming from the stage. It had such an electrifying effect that I still call it my ‘Vivaldi Spring.’ How was it possible to conjure up so vivid, so natural a sound of birds, with just a violin?”

The violinist was about seven when he first began to “stumble through” Vivaldi’s score, and 13 when he first performed The Four Seasons in public. His rising tally of performances stands today at about one thousand, but it was the adventure of recording Max Richter’s contemporary reimagining, Recomposed: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, as well as the delights of performing the original composition with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, which finally convinced him to make a recording of Vivaldi’s masterwork.

When it came to choosing companion pieces for the Vivaldi, Hope turned to a concept from the early years of his professional career: to use the Baroque concertos as a jumping-off point for a broader exploration of the artistic resonances of the seasons and their power to affect everything from literature and philosophy to painting and music. In Hope’s words:

“We have created a mosaic in music and images of what the seasons mean to me. I see it as a way of placing Vivaldi within a broader look back at my life and putting The Four Seasons together with works that match my feelings for the months of the year. There’s a modern message here, which is about the cohesive expression of time and life cycles. Those familiar cycles are being broken left, right and centre at present throughout our world. This is my way of marking time: my time and our times.”

Hope’s choice of compositions includes works directly associated with the calendar, including arrangements of Aphex Twin’s Avril 14th, “June” from Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons and Kurt Weill’s September Song, and other pieces that convey the atmosphere of a given month. The lyrical Ambre by German composer and producer Nils Frahm, freshly arranged for solo violin, string quartet, double bass, harp, and piano, sets the contemplative mood for January. “Spring 1” from Max Richter’s Recomposed and “Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen” from Schumann’s Dichterliebe emerged as the violinist’s firm favorites for March and July. Genre-hopping composer, pianist and producer Chilly Gonzales composed Les doutes d’août for August and supplied his Wintermezzo for December, as well as playing piano on both tracks. And Hope recorded Amazing Grace, his choice for May, in one take with the composer and sound artist Dom Bouffard while working with Robert Wilson on the latter’s award-winning radio play The Tower of Babel. A dance from Rameau’s ballet Les Indes galantes, music by Bach’s younger contemporary Johann Melchior Molter, and an aria by Bach himself, featuring soprano Anna Lucia Richter, reflect on the months of February, October, and November, respectively. Brahms’s famous lullaby “Guten Abend, gut Nacht” serves as a “Postscriptum.”

For Seasons also offers a showcase for the tremendous musicianship of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, of which Hope became the new Music Director after succeeding Sir Roger Norrington in the post last September. His long association with the ensemble dates back to his childhood, when his mother was manager for the legendary Yehudi Menuhin. The orchestra regularly performed at Menuhin’s Gstaad festival, the very place where Hope first encountered The Four Seasons. As the violinist observes:

“I have at my disposal an orchestra which has the flexibility to play Baroque music like a period-instrument band, and yet also performs Romantic and 20th-century music with great authority. I wanted to reflect that flexibility on our album, just as we do in our concerts together.”

Echoing the album’s musical range, an equally varied group of visual artworks are featured in the accompanying booklet, created by twelve different painters. Selected by Hope in collaboration with the artists, the works are carefully chosen to resonate in a variety of ways with the months they represent and the musical works with which they are paired.


To download high-resolution photos, click here.

Daniel Hope: winter and spring engagements

Feb 3
Dublin, Ireland
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra / Alexander Shelley
MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto in E minor

Feb 9–12: Spanish tour with Orquestra de Cadaqués / Jaime Martín
BRUCH: Concerto for violin and orchestra No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26
Feb 9: Castelló, Spain
Feb 10: Barcelona, Spain
Feb 12: Zaragoza, Spain

Feb 19
Düsseldorf, Germany
Museum Kunstpalast
Recital with Sebastian Knauer, piano

March 10 & 12
Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich Chamber Orchestra (conducting from the violin)
GLUCK: “Dance of the Furies” from Orfeo ed Euridice
KRAUS: Symphony in A, VB 128
HAYDN: Violin Concerto in G, Hob. VIIa:4
MOZART: Violin Concerto No. 3 in G, K. 216
MOZART: Adagio in E for Violin and Orchestra, K. 261
MOZART: Symphony No. 27 in G, K. 199

March 19–22: North American recital tour with Vanessa Perez, piano
   March 19: Scottsdale, AZ
March 20: Ottawa, ON, Canada
March 21: Montreal, QC, Canada
March 22: Quebec City, QC, Canada

March 23–April 5: Savannah Music Festival
Savannah, GA
    March 23: “Beethoven and Beyond I”
BEETHOVEN: String Trio in D, Op. 9, No. 2
SCHULHOFF: Duo for Violin and Cello
BEETHOVEN: 12 Variations for Cello and Piano in F on “Ein Mädchen oder
Weibchen” from Mozart’s Magic Flute, Op. 66
WEBER: Piano Quartet in B-flat, J. 76

March 24: “Brahms vs. Tchaikovsky”
BRAHMS: String Quintet No. 2 in G, Op. 111
TCHAIKOVSKY: String Sextet in D minor (“Souvenir de Florence”), Op. 70

March 26: “Ébène Quartet with Daniel Hope & Simon Crawford-Phillips”
CHAUSSON: Concerto in D for Violin, Piano and String Quartet, Op. 21

March 27: “Beethoven and Beyond II”
BEETHOVEN: Piano Quartet in E-flat, Op. 16
SHOSTAKOVICH: Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67
BEETHOVEN: Variations for Piano Trio on “Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu” from Die Schwestern von Prag
by Wenzel Müller, Op. 121a
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: String Sextet in A

March 30: “Mozart and his Legacy”
MOZART: Quintet in E-flat, K. 452 (arr. Naumann)
HUMMEL: Piano Quintet in E-flat minor, Op. 87
ROSSINI: String Sonata No. 1 in G
MOZART: String Quintet No. 4 in G minor, K. 516

April 2: “Edgar Meyer and Friends”
MEYER: Quintet for Strings & Double Bass
MOZART: Divertimento in D for String Quintet, K. 136
ARENSKY: Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky, Op. 35a
TCHAIKOVSKY: Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48

April 4: “Daniel Hope & Friends featuring David Finckel, Wu Han & the Dover Quartet”
DVOŘÁK: Romantic Pieces, Op. 75, Version for 2 Violins and Viola
DVOŘÁK: Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor (“Dumky”), Op. 90, B. 166,
DVOŘÁK: Selections from Slavonic Dances for Piano Four Hands
DVOŘÁK: Piano Quintet in A, Op. 81

April 7
Berlin, Germany
Komische Oper Berlin
KORNGOLD: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D, Op. 35

April 9
Düsseldorf, Germany
Museum Kunstpalast
Recital with Sebastian Knauer, piano

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© 21C Media Group, January 2017

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