An exclusive DG recording artist, Hope has seen his discs on the famed Yellow Label reap critical hosannas. His 2009 DG Vivaldi album earned a Grammy Award nomination, and his 2010 release, Air. a baroque journey, is among the most celebrated in his sizable discography. Of that album, which features Bach, Handel and such lesser-known Baroque composers as Westhoff, Matteis, and Falconieri, Gramophone magazine declared: “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.” Hope’s next DG album, to be released in the U.S. on March 22, is The Romantic Violinist: A Celebration of Joseph Joachim, a homage to the great 19th-century Austro-Hungarian violin virtuoso who was a friend and trusted collaborator of Brahms and the first interpreter and dedicatee – and reviser/editor – of works by Bruch and Dvorák.
The Romantic Violinist features both famous pieces and lesser-known works associated with Joachim, including Bruch’s ever-popular Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor and two of Joachim’s own compositions, the Notturno for violin and orchestra and the Romance for violin and piano. The album includes Joachim’s arrangements of Brahms’s Hungarian Dances Nos. 1 and 5 in new versions for violin and strings, as well as an arrangement for violin and orchestra by mid-20th-century film composer Franz Waxman of Dvorák’s Humoresque, Op. 101, No. 7. The orchestral works feature the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic conducted by Sakari Oramo. There are also chamber pieces by Clara Schumann (a Romanze dedicated “in deep friendship” to Joachim) and Brahms (the Scherzo from the “F-A-E” Sonata, the multi-composer tribute based on Joachim’s motto, “free but lonely”), performed with pianist Sebastian Knauer. Hope adds his own transcription of Schubert’s song “Auf dem Wasser zu singen,” which he was inspired to include after discovering that it was performed in recital by Joachim’s wife, a contralto. Finally, Hope switches from violin to viola for Brahms’s “Wiegenlied” (the Brahms lullaby), joined by mezzo Anne Sofie von Otter and pianist Bengt Forsberg.