Daniel Hope / Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin

Spheres

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AllMusic Review by

With the presence of such composers as Michael Nyman and Karl Jenkins, this might look like a standard-issue British recording of crossover music for violin and other instruments. But actually it's a more complex and more ambitious thing than that. Under the title Spheres, South African-born British violinist Daniel Hope combines crossover heavyweights (even John Rutter is present as creator of the rather soupy arrangement of Fauré's Cantique de Jean Racine, Op. 11) with Baroque works, short tonal works by contemporary composers, and minimalists Arvo Pärt and Philip Glass, along with minimalist-leaning but unclassifiable Ludovico Einaudi. The spheres rubric sometimes seems to indicate nothing more definite than something revolves, or moves cyclically within a dynamic system, and the chief appeal of this release may well be to those seeking profundity on the cheap. Yet the range of Hope's choices compels a certain respect. The one work entitled Spheres, by Gabriel Prokofiev (grandson of Sergey), is a nifty collection of phrases that proceed from simplicity to chaos, and there are other intriguing short works such as the two excerpts from Lera Auerbach's 24 Preludes for violin and piano, Op. 46. The Baroque pieces are well integrated into the whole; Johann Paul von Westhoff's Imitazione delle campane (Imitation of the Bells), a work from the repertory of solo violin music preceding Bach's sonatas, is not nearly as profound as Hope thinks it is, but it makes an unusual introduction to the whole collection of pieces, which has a positive X factor coming from its combination of surface simplicity and ingenious variety. Worthwhile for anyone looking for a relaxing listen; it will stick in your head in unexpected ways.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sonate a violino solo
1 02:25
2 05:39
3 05:55
4 04:18
24 Preludes for Violin & Piano, Op. 46
5 01:40
6 11:43
Wild Swans Suite, for violin & piano
7 03:11
8 02:36
9 03:54
10 01:36
11 02:13
12 03:37
13 04:38
24 Preludes for Violin & Piano, Op. 46
14 03:16
15 05:50
Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV 855 (Das wohltemperierte Clavier, Book 1)
16 03:03
Drowning by Numbers, for violin, viola & string orchestra
17 05:18
Faust, Episode 2, for violin, strings & timpani
18 03:47
blue highlight denotes track pick