March 09, 2010
Daniel Hope is an inspiration himself. Not only a virtuoso violinist, Hope is also an author, a blogger, a musical activist, a humanitarian and a producer. He has performed with renowned Orchestras all over the world and artists from a multitude of genres. He has demonstrated a steadfast determination to commemorate the music banned by the Nazi regime and organized a commemorative concert on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht at Berlin’s Tempelhof airport.
On March 20 and 21, Hope joins Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in a concert that pays tribute to three great composers whose music was suppressed by the Third Reich. In anticipation of this reflective concert, Hope shares his musical inspirations below.
The Mendelssohn Violin Concerto has been a constant source of inspiration to me for as long as I can remember.
One of my earliest memories is of my parents taking me to a concert in London. I was five years old. The soloist played Mendelssohn. During those twenty five minutes, time stood still as I let its magic seduce my ears and my soul for the first time. Even before we left the hall, I was nagging my father telling him I wanted to play ‘The Mendelssohn’ too.
The Mendelssohn has absolutely everything that a violinist and musician could wish for: the most beautiful melodies, the Romantic struggle of violin against orchestra, a Sturm und Drang quality which at times is close to Beethoven, and that incredible skittish scherzo writing unique to Mendelssohn. It has both virtuosity and lightness, and is a wonderfully happy work, even though there are moments of great poignancy. It’s the most perfect concerto because it touches people wherever you play it. The reaction you get from a performance of it is really unlike any other.
It was the first concerto I ever heard live, the first one I ever learned, and the one with which I made my debut at the age of fifteen. There’s also a story attached to it. When I was eight and a student at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England, I desperately wanted to learn it, but wasn’t advanced enough and wasn’t allowed near it. I became so frustrated that after several months I secretly borrowed the score, but then I was caught and was sent to the Director of Music’s office – it was a very serious matter to be caught practising the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto….. without permission! Shortly after that I left the school…...
Since then I have recorded it for Deutsche Grammophon, and in LA will be playing the original version, the version which came directly from Mendelssohn’s pen, before he modified it at the suggestion of the violinist Ferdinand David.
My taste in music is extremely varied, from classical to jazz, indian musik, folk and rock. What interests me is great music, and this can be found in a variety of genres.