Hope
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Hope

Daniel Hope, Zurcher Kammerorchester

In this album called Hope, created during lockdown, violinist Daniel Hope presents a highly personal, yet distinctive collection of timeless classics by Schubert, Elgar and Pärt, several beloved traditional songs in stunning new instrumental versions and a brand-new arrangement of the inspiring and spiritual Misa Criolla by Ariel Ramírez.

‘Music has a tremendous power,’ says Daniel Hope. ‘This album is my attempt to send out a ray of hope and to provide people, myself included, with a sense of support and perhaps even consolation.’ Well-known favourites from Hope’s childhood such as Amazing Grace and Danny Boy are as integral to this album as Schubert’s Die Nacht and “Nimrod” from Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Several different periods are illuminated in this way, and the same is true of the most disparate styles and musical contexts.

Daniel Hope is joined by the Zürcher Kammerorchester as well as prestigious singers like the vocal ensemble Amarcord, baritone Thomas Hampson and jazz-singer Colin Rich.

Review

There is something truly breathtaking in hearing a choir sing in our current moment; hearing all those voices coming together after so long apart almost brings tears to my eyes. In this latest album, Daniel Hope elegantly interweaves the human voice with his violin, creating new timbres in well-known songs. There’s Misa Criolla by Ariel Ramírez, rearranged especially for this recording; a stunning arrangement of ‘Danny Boy’; and my favourite on this album, ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’. In my years of reviewing for Readings, I have waxed lyrical about many of Daniel Hope’s albums. I still completely adore his Escape to Paradise album, and only stopped listening to Spheres because I had completely saturated myself in it. So, when I was asked to review his latest release, as you can see, I grabbed it with both hands.

This new album is somewhat obviously titled Hope, though the inspiration for it comes from last year’s lockdown in Britain and not his name as you might think. Daniel Hope was clearly bored hanging around in isolation, and so started his own livestream called ‘Hope@Home’ on ARTE TV. Trying to encourage people to stay at home, he wanted to present concert-hall-quality performances straight to their TV. As restrictions tentatively lifted, he set off to collaborate with other musicians and continued to make live music around the world accessible through streaming. This album is a taste of just some of those performances.

The thing that truly got to me about this whole album was the gentleness of it. The music didn’t demand anything of me, instead it just wrapped me in an aural blanket and relaxed a little part of me that I didn’t even realise was tense. And if you’re wondering just how you missed his livestreams (as I did) they’re all up on YouTube for you to enjoy from across the other side of the world.


Kate Rockstrom is a friend of Readings.

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