The Romantic Violinist

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Brahms,Bruch,Dvorak,Joachim,Schubert & C Schumann
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Bruch: Violin Concerto in G minor; plus works by Brahms, Dvoπák, Joachim, Schubert & C Schumann Daniel Hope (violin, viola), Sebastian
PERFORMER: Knauer, Bengt Forsberg (piano), Anne-Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano); Royal Stockholm PO/Sakari Oramo
CATALOGUE NO: DG 477 9301

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The centrepiece of Daniel Hope’s affectionate tribute to the great Hungarian-born violinist Joseph Joachim, Bruch’s G minor Concerto, receives a warmly committed account from the soloist and the hugely responsive Royal Stockholm Philharmonic under Sakari Oramo.
 
As in his recording of the Mendelssohn, Hope never takes this over-familiar score for granted and has imaginative things to say at every juncture. Some may feel the violin cadenzas at the opening are a bit too self-consciously elongated. Also the recording places Hope rather close to the microphone, making the double stop passage work in the first movement and finale sound unnecessarily aggressive.
 
The rest of the programme presents an attractive sequence of shorter pieces, including the only available recording of Joachim’s Notturno for violin and orchestra. Although hardly a major discovery, the inventive orchestral fabric excluding violins gives the work a distinctly autumnal hue.
 
I was somewhat less convinced by the rather rough and ready string orchestral transcriptions of Brahms’s First and Fifth Hungarian Dances. Also why didn’t Hope give us all three of Clara Schumann’s Romances; and why omit the first of Brahms’s glorious Op. 91 songs? The final item, Dvorák’s ubiquitous Humoresque as arranged Hollywood-style by Franz Waxman, seems idiomatically out of place here, though Hope’s performance is certainly seductive. Erik Levi