El-Khoury: Unfinished Journey for violin and strings
Steve Reich: Duet for two violins and strings
Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto for Two Violins and Strings in A minor, RV 522/1
Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto for Two Violins and Strings in A minor, RV 522/2
Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto for Two Violins and Strings in A minor, RV 522/3
John Tavener: Song of the Angel for soprano, violin and strings
Hans Werner Henze: Adagio adagio, a serenade for violin, cello and piano
Edward Elgar: Salut d'amour for violin, piano and strings, arr. Christian Badzura
Bela Bartok: Nos. 35, 28, & 36 from 44 Duos for Two Violins /1
Bela Bartok: Nos. 35, 28, & 36 from 44 Duos for Two Violins/2
Bela Bartok: Nos. 35, 28, & 36 from 44 Duos for Two Violins/3
George Enescu: Hora Unirii for violin and piano
Jo Knumann: Rumanisch for violin, mandolin, piano and strings, arr. Christian Badzura
Maurice Ravel: No. 1, Kaddish, for violin and piano
Daniel Hope :
My Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin
Daniel Hope Celebrates His Mentor's Centennial with
DG Release of My Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin
2016 marks the centennial of Yehudi Menuhin, the violin legend whose playing Einstein once cited as a reason to believe in God. To honor this anniversary, on February 5, six-time ECHO Klassik Award-winning violinist Daniel Hope will release his tenth Deutsche Grammophon recording, titled My Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin. Having grown up within the Menuhin household, Hope went on to partner him in more than 60 concert performances, sharing a close association with the older violinist that was truly unique. His new album celebrates the rich diversity of his friend and mentor's musical tastes, combining works by Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Elgar, Ravel, Bartók, Tavener, Enescu, Jo Knümann, Steve Reich, Hans Werner Henze, and Bechara El-Khoury. Many of the same composers also feature in Menuhin-themed programs that Hope presents in Toronto (Jan 28), California (Feb 4–7), New York's Lincoln Center (March 4), Istanbul (March 17) and Paris (March 22), as well as a 10-day Menuhin Festival at the Berlin Konzerthaus which Hope will curate beginning April 22. As distinguished British broadcaster and Menuhin biographer Humphrey Burton put it, "Nobody has a better claim than Daniel Hope to be the musician leading celebrations for the centenary of Yehudi Menuhin's birth."
Hope comments: "Yehudi Menuhin is the reason I became a violinist. As he used to say, I fell into his lap as a baby of two. Yehudi called himself my "musical grandfather." Now, in celebration of what would have been his centenary, my friends and I can finally pay our respects to this great man, in a manner I feel certain he would have loved."
Hope was just a toddler when his family moved to London, fleeing the apartheid regime in South Africa which had threatened Hope's father, writer Christopher Hope. In a last-ditch effort to remain in the UK, Hope's mother took a part-time post as Menuhin's secretary, later becoming his longtime manager of 24 years. Warmly welcomed into the household, it was there, at the age of four, that Hope first fell in love with the violin. Although he studied formally under other teachers, he also received occasional lessons from Menuhin himself, and when he was eleven, at the master violinist's invitation, they performed Bartók duos together on German television. Thus began a musical partnership lasting many years during which the two musicians gave 60 concerts together, culminating with Hope's participation in his mentor's final concert on March 7, 1999. By then, as The Guardian recounts, Menuhin had come to serve as Hope's "spiritual father in music."
For the new recording, Hope put together a program that not only reflects Menuhin's taste, but recalls key moments from their musical life together. The result, as Humphrey Burton explains in an illuminating liner note, is "a fascinating hour that cries out to be listened to at one sitting." It was Menuhin who premiered and first recorded Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in D minor, written when the composer was still in his teens; Hope would later perform it under his mentor's leadership. Having made the premiere recording of Elgar's Violin Concerto with the aging composer conducting, Menuhin had, Burton remembers, "an especially soft spot for Elgar's salon pieces such as Salut d'Amour." Vivaldi's Double Violin Concerto in A minor and Bartók's Violin Duos are among the works that Hope studied and played most with Menuhin as a boy; he says: "I still have his fingerings and his markings in my part."
George Enescu was Menuhin's own teacher and perhaps the most profound of his musical influences; as Burton writes, Enescu's Hora Unirii "explores very different elements in Menuhin's musical make-up: his deep love of Gypsy music, his respect for the Roma heritage and his reverence for Enescu, his greatest teacher." Jo Knümann's Rumänisch also draws on the Gypsy traditions Menuhin revered, while Tavener's Song of the Angel and Henze's Adagio adagio are two of the many contemporary chamber works written for Menuhin. Steve Reich's Duet was commissioned for a belated 80th birthday tribute to the violinist, and Bechara El-Khoury's Unfinished Journey – its title taken from that of Menuhin's autobiography – was commissioned by Hope and the Gstaad Menuhin Festival in 2009 to mark the tenth anniversary of his death. Ravel's "Kaddish," which Menuhin had previously recorded, is the piece Hope performed as an encore at the master violinist's final concert, just days before his death, and it is with this that his tribute concludes.
Among Hope's collaborators on the recording are the Kammerorchester Basel, members of the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, and a stellar array of soloists that includes mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital and Israeli soprano Chen Reiss. A track listing for My Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin, and details of Hope's upcoming Menuhin-themed North American concerts, are provided below.