How much range do you want in a violinist? Do you want him/her to be able to play Berg as well as Mendelssohn? Shankar as well as Schnittke? Shostakovich as well as Mozart? If that's the case, then Daniel Hope is your violinist. Beyond his seemingly effortless virtuosity and apparently endless sensitivity, Hope has the widest range of nearly any classical-trained violinist before the public (Vanessa-Mae excepted). This 2008 Deutsche Grammophon disc demonstrates Hope's incredible expanding repertoire with his first venture into Vivaldi. The program is a combination of three concertos, two sonatas, plus a soprano aria with violin obbligato, and as always, Hope plays a modern instrument albeit with touches here of historically informed performance practice. In his hands, Vivaldi sounds fresh, new, and vital with the combination of energy and poetry that was the Italian composer's hallmark. Though Hope and the string players of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe use little vibrato and no portimento, his playing and theirs is never less than brilliant. Indeed, Hope's playing goes some ways further toward flat-out jaw-dropping. Try, for example, his exceedingly exciting performance of Vivaldi's take on the old Spanish dance La Follia, and if its incandescent virtuosity doesn't floor you, perhaps this disc isn't for you. With the lovely addition of mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter in the aria "Sovvente il sole" from the opera Andromeda liberate and recorded in crisp digital sound, this disc is a pure pleasure from start to finish. Deutsche Grammophon's digital is clean, close, and detailed.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in D major ("L'inquietudine"), RV 234|
|Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in E minor, RV 273|
|Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in E flat major ("La tempesta di mare"; "Il cimento" No. 5), Op.8/5, RV 253|
|Andromeda Liberata, serenata (opera; attributed)|
|Concerto for 2 violins, cello, strings & continuo in D minor ("L'estro armonico" No. 11), Op. 3/11, RV 565|