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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Belle Époque' [2CD]
Artist - Daniel Hope

For those not in the know, British violinist Daniel Hope has toured the world as a virtuoso soloist for 30 years and is celebrated for his musical versatility as well as his dedication to humanitarian causes.

Winner of the 2015 European Cultural Prize for Music, whose previous recipients include Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Hope appears as soloist with the world’s major orchestras and conductors, also directing many ensembles from the violin.

Since the start of the 2016/17 season Hope is Music Director of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra – and from the 2018/19 Season also Music Director of the New Century Chamber Orchestra in San Francisco.

In 2019 he became Artistic Director of the Frauenkirche Cathedral in Dresden, and from 2020 he will assume the role of President of the Beethovenhaus Bonn, an honorary position following in the footsteps of Kurt Masur and Joseph Joachim.

Daniel Hope's new concept double album Belle Époque highlights classical repertoire that emerged in the gilded era bookended by the Franco-Prussian War and the start of World War I.

Uniting late Romantic and Impressionist pieces as well as early works from the Second Viennese School, the album features favorites such as Massenet's Meditation, Debussy's Rêverie, and Strauss's Morgen, as well as rarely heard masterpieces by Schoenberg, Rachmaninoff, and Elgar.

For Hope, the Belle Époque has long held a consuming fascination. “I often wish I had a time machine to go back to the salons of Paris, indeed to that entire age. It was a time when people started to question the very idea of art.”

CD 1 - Orchestral Music
1-4 Chausseon: Concerto in D major
5 Debussy: Rêverie
6 Massenet: Mêditation
7 R. Strauss: Morgen!
8 Schoenberg: Notturno
9 Elgar: Chanson de matin
10 Elgar: Introduction and Allegro

CD 2 - Chamber Music
1 Rachmaninov: Romance
2 Schoenberg: Piece in D Minor
3 Zemlinsky: Serendae in A Major
4-7 Koechlin: 4 Little Pieces
8 Fauré: Andante
9 Ravel: Sonate posthume
10 Berg: Schließe mir die Augen beide
11 Enescu: Impromptu concertant
12 Fauré: Morceau de lecture
13 Juon: Berceuse
14 Berg: Winter
15 Bridge: Valse russe
16 Debussy: La Fille aux cheveux de lin
17 Kreisler: Liebesleid
18 Hahn: À Chloris
19 Debussy: Minstrels
20 Webern: 4 Pieces

With an exquisite run time of two and a half hours, this wonderfully brought together musical collection takes in the sights and sounds of Europe, taking magnificent musical snapshots of major cultural centers of the time — London, Paris and Vienna.

Spread of two discs and containing four evenly-spaced, and beautifully complete works, the first disc opens with an arrangement for strings and solo violin of Debussy’s Rêverie. Here, Hope effortlessly embodies the spirit of a daydream with the string colors and textures contrasting elegantly with Hope’s melodious tone.

Further on and another stand out for me here is the quite majestic La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin, albeit this time with pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips at Hope's side.

Here Hope’s violin emphasis ebbs and flows, ultimately yielding, allowing his pianissimos to flourish admirably within their designated resonance.

Another stunning work is the salon movement Piece in D Minor, a highly melodious miniature, stylistically speaking, which is played lyrically by Hope and Crawford-Phillips.

Berg’s Winter from “Jungenlieder” is a right royal doozy of a track here also, along with Webern’s Four Pieces for Violin and Piano Op. 7. These alone characterize Webern’s concise musical idiom for all to hear, providing some welcome contrast on this extensive album.

Musicians: Daniel Hope – violin; Mojca Erdmann – Soprano; Simon Crawford-Phillips – Piano; Stefan Dohr – Viola; Jane Berthe, Harp; Maria Todtenhaupt – Harp; Lise de la Salle – Piano; Yibai Chen – Cello and Zürcher Kammerorchester.

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Daniel Hope @ Facebook