My Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin

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COMPOSERS: Bartok,El-Khoury,Elgar,Enescu,Henze,Knümann,Mendelssohn,Ravel,Reich,Tavener,Vivaldi
LABELS: DG
ALBUM TITLE: My tribute to Yehudi Menuhin
WORKS: Works by Mendelssohn, El-Khoury, Reich, Vivaldi, Tavener, Henze, Elgar, Bartók, Enescu, Knümann and Ravel
PERFORMER: Daniel Hope, Daniel Lozakovitj, Simos Papanas (violin), Christiane Starke (cello), Jacques Ammon (piano); Kammerorchester Basel
CATALOGUE NO: DG 479 5305

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One of Yehudi Menuhin’s most celebrated protégés, Daniel Hope worked closely with him from early childhood. The last time he played a concerto (by Schnittke) under Menuhin’s baton in March 1999 turned out to be the great man’s final concert appearance. Hope’s selection of pieces reflects Menuhin’s wide-ranging interests, opening with Mendelssohn’s D minor Concerto, an early work that Menuhin rescued from oblivion. Interestingly, Hope leans more towards 19th-century rhetoric (Menuhin’s natural modus operandi) here, whereas in the Vivaldi A minor Concerto for two violins (in which he is joined by Simos Papanas) he adopts a more historically-informed manner, albeit with modern instruments.

In three Bartók duos (Nos 28, 35 and 36, partnered by Daniel Lozakovitj), Hope plays with a bewitching, occasionally vibrato-less purity in contrast to Menuhin’s earthy, heavily-vibratoed intensity; yet in Elgar’s heart-warming Salut d’amour (backed by members of the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin) such is Hope’s exultant phrasing that it could almost be the Master himself playing. Indeed, part of the fascination of this carefully chosen programme, in which Reich, Tavener, Henze and Knümann rub shoulders with more traditional fare, is the way Menuhin’s questing spirit has so clearly inspired Hope’s own probing exploration of music of myriad genres and styles.

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Julian Haylock