. Interchanging Idioms: Violinist Daniel Hope Performs World Premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’s New Violin Concerto

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Violinist Daniel Hope Performs World Premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’s New Violin Concerto

Fiddler on the Shore premieres with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra on August 22

Hope and Maxwell Davies Give UK Premiere on September 8 with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at BBC Proms

Violinist Daniel Hope, a long-time champion of new music, is the soloist for the world premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’s second violin concerto, Fiddler on the Shore, on August 22 with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. The work, commissioned by the orchestra and written specially for Hope, will be conducted by the composer. This performance will be part of the orchestra’s Mendelssohn bicentennial celebrations in Leipzig. After the world premiere, Daniel Hope and Peter Maxwell Davies will bring the piece back home to Great Britain, where they will present the UK premiere at the BBC Proms on September 8 – Sir Peter’s 75th birthday, this time with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Both Hope and Maxwell Davies are favorite British musicians. Peter Maxwell Davies, one of the UK’s most celebrated composers, was knighted in 1987, and he was appointed Master of the Queen’s Music in March 2004.

Fiddler on the Shore, Maxwell Davies’s second violin concerto, uses elements of the folk music of the Orkney Islands in Scotland , a place well known for traditional fiddling, and it transforms this music into a large-scale orchestral work. In the composer’s program notes, he says:

“The new work is at the same time a celebration of Orkney traditional fiddle music, and of the sheer wonder and beauty of the sea, whose sound permeates every moment of your life, and also a meditation on the fragility of this music under modern pressures, and the vulnerability of a sandy island in the way of ever-rising seas, as icecaps melt.”

As the soloist in this new work, Daniel Hope continues his celebrated career in which he brings a wide array of both new and newly discovered works to the public’s attention. In 2008, his first solo recording for Deutsche Grammophon featured the world premiere recording of the original version of Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and a revised version of the composer’s irresistible Octet for Strings, a CD that Alex Ross of the New Yorker called “a bold, stylish recording of the Violin Concerto, alongside one of the finest modern accounts of the Octet.” Meanwhile, that same year, Hope presented Celeste, a new work for violin and percussion by Stewart Copeland, the drummer of the rock band The Police, at the Savannah Music Festival.

The premiere of Fiddler on the Shore marks a special opportunity for Daniel Hope to work with one of today’s most celebrated composers – an honor that he is proud will start off his new season. Speaking of the work and the composer in general, Hope said:

“I have been particularly fascinated by the ingenious way in which Sir Peter has been able to blend the folk with the symphonic. It is a technically challenging work, and yet it relies on a strong element of lyricism, which I find particularly inspiring. I have long admired Sir Peter's music, and so to be the dedicatee of such an important work, and to give the world premiere with the Gewandhaus Orchestra during its Mendelssohn bicentennial celebrations is a huge honour, as indeed it is to perform it at the Proms, on the composer's 75th birthday.”

Daniel Hope – Peter Maxwell Davies Violin Concerto premiere:

Aug 22: Leipzig , Germany
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies: Violin Concerto No. 2 Fiddler on the Shore (world premiere)
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, conductor

September 8: BBC Proms, London , UK
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies: Violin Concerto No. 2 Fiddler on the Shore ( UK premiere)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, conductor

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