VIVALDI: Concerto in D; Concerto in E Minor, RV 273; Sonata in D Minor Op.1 No.12; Concerto in E Flat Major; Aria “Sovvente il sole“; Concerto in D Minor – Daniel Hope, violin/ other soloists/Ch. Orch. of Europe – DGG

by | May 31, 2009 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

VIVALDI: Concerto in D, RV 234; Concerto in E Minor, RV 273; Sonata in D Minor Op.1 No.12; Concerto in E Flat Major, RV 253; Aria “Sovvente il sole”; Concerto in D Minor, RV 565 – Daniel Hope, violin/ Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano/Kristian Bezuidenhout, harpsichord & organ/ Chamber Orchestra of Europe – Deutsche Grammophon 477 7463, 57:44 **** [Distr. by Universal]:

Following his delicious reading on Bach Concertos (Warner 2564-62545-2), “frighteningly gifted” Daniel Hope joins forces with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe once again in a sequel to explore a compelling programme of Vivaldi concertos, variations, and joined by Anne Sofie von Otter, an exquisite aria.  Since his joining with the Hamburg-based record company in 2007, Hope’s second album for the yellow label presents Vivaldi’s close affinity on the violin with an unusual combination of subtlety and variety in four major concertos, including the celebrated “L’inquietudine” and “La tempesta di mare” that awarded pride of place.

The eminently reliable Chamber Orchestra of Europe, with keyboardist Kristian Bezuidenhout, perform on their instruments with consummate zest under the charismatic leader Lorenza Borrani. Hope has a gift with Baroque music, and these performances proves eminently instructive to the point especially in the first few tracks of the “L’inequietudine” and in the original version of the E Minor RV.273 Concertos. How so? Hope is one of the few violinists who comes to mind as the first to play a modern violin with period instrument methods and philosophies in mind. In the Vivaldi world, one thinks readily of the young talents as Janine Jensen and Joshua Bell, two very contrasting talents. But Hope’s peculiar choice in repertoire and the musicians with whom he partners with brings listeners back to the very fundamentals of violin playing in the highest form: pure, round, well-projected  tone. These qualities match Vivaldi’s scores in the finest detail and articulation. The highlight of the four concertos comes with “La tempesta di mare” (RV.253), where Hope brings out an extra mile on phrasing in both the slow central sections and the less overtly expressive outer movements. In the others, rhythm and harmony are both enriched, all-in-all well-balanced and discreetly played by Kristian Bezuidenhout in the harpsichord that blended with the main body of strings. The acoustics of St. Paul’s in London are possibly a little on the over-rich side, but they suit the music and don’t stand in the way of detail and articulation.

In this album, it is not merely an instrumental showcase. There is also a nine-minute tour behind the angelic voice of mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. Listen to how she glides with boundless beauty and tonal sweetness in the aria “Sovvente il sole,” from the recently unearthed serenata “Andromeda liberata.” If you are one of those collectors whose Vivaldi’s collection begins and ends with The Four Seasons, be sure to check out this latest album of Daniel Hope/Chamber Orchestra of Europe. You will soon discover there is much more Vivaldi violin treasures than meet the eye.

— Patrick P.L. Lam

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