Journey to Mozart

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Daniel Hope (violin) : Zurich Chamber Orchestra
DG 4798376 (69:21)

No apologies for recommending another Mozart release!

This one is an imaginative album from the personable Durban born (1973) English-Irish violinist who is also musical director of the first-rate orchestra, and recently signed a new contract taking him to 2022.

Here we have a personal exploration of the composer’s world, which includes not only three favourite works by the ‘main man’, but also music by composers whom Mozart (1756-91) publicly acknowledged or with whom he was in personal contact. Central are two violin concertos: the first, the splendid No.4, by Franz Joseph ‘Papa’ Haydn (1732-1809), who was a friend of the younger man with a mutual regard for each other’s work; and the second, No.3, composed by a teenaged Wolfgang Amadeus. Maestro Hope reckons that the slow movement of this is ‘one of the most beautiful ever written’.

The album opens with a fairly frenetic Dance of the Furies, from ‘Orfeo ed Euridice’ by Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-87), in an arrangement by Olivier Fourés, who also arranged the standout closing track: Mozart’s famous Alla Turka (written as a piano sonata), with its Turkish percussion and re-creation of a marching string band.

In between we have the lovely Dance of the Blessed Spirits, also by Gluck; Mozart’s equally attractive Adagio for Violin and Strings; a fine discovery for me in Romance for Violin and Strings by concert promoter Johann Peter Salomon (1745-1815); and a brief excerpt from Josef Mysliveček’s (1737-81) Violin Concerto in D major.

Another thing these pieces all have in common is tunefulness, and if you buy this release as a CD or download I think you will be well pleased.

© Peter Burt 2018

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