Daniel Hope / Sakari Oramo

The Romantic Violinist

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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson

Violinist and composer Joseph Joachim was a central figure of Romanticism, famous as a personal friend of Johannes Brahms and as an arbiter of musical taste who was professionally associated with many of the 19th century's greatest musicians. Daniel Hope's The Romantic Violinist: A Celebration of Joseph Joachim paints an appealing portrait through selections of Joachim's own music, as well as short pieces by Brahms, Clara Schumann, Antonin Dvorák, Franz Schubert, and the Violin Concerto No. 1 by Max Bruch. Joachim had a hand in editing this concerto, as well as in adding details to violin concertos by others, and he was generous in contributing his technical knowledge to composers, as well as inspiring them to write some of the most eloquent pieces in the repertoire for him. This CD presents Hope's 2010 performance of the Bruch concerto, along with Brahms' Hungarian Dances No. 1 and No. 5, Joachim's Notturno, and Dvorák's Humoresque with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo. For the rest of the tracks, Hope is accompanied by pianist Sebastian Knauer, except in Brahms' Geistliches Wiegenlied, where he is joined by mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and pianist Bengt Forsberg. This mix of orchestral, chamber, and vocal music gives the disc considerable variety and avoids the pitfall of offering only one major work with a lot of filler. Indeed, Hope brings ample personality and skill to make the program compelling to the very end, and the changes of instrumentation and textures keep the album from being monochromatic. As a tribute to Joachim, this album does him the favor of showing his many sides, and presents him not only as a virtuoso, but as a complete musician.

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