“A violinist of probing intellect and commanding style … In a business that likes tidy boxes drawn around its commodities, the British violinist Daniel Hope resists categorization.”– New York Times
Intrepid violinist Daniel Hope continues to forge new ground, challenging audiences to take a fresh look at standard concert repertoire while also opening their eyes to less performed but equally exciting works. His last album – featuring Vivaldi concertos, a sonata, and an aria with Anne Sofie von Otter – was nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance. Now the latest fruit of Hope’s exclusive relationship with Deutsche Grammophon, was 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. To celebrate the release of Air, Hope will perform selections from the CD at New York’s Highline Ballroom on April 5.
The concert at the Highline Ballroom will mark the first time the program will be presented in the US; earlier in the year, Hope played his Air program in London, inaugurating the Elgar Room, the Royal Albert Hall’s new performance venue. The Guardian was on hand and 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: www.hope-air.com. 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 includes the transcription of a plaintive harpsichord Sarabande by Handel. And Hope 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.”