- Performer: Daniel Hope
- Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra
- Conductor: Paul Watkins
- Composer: Alban Berg, Benjamin Britten
- Audio CD (March 16, 2004)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Warner Classics
- ASIN: B0001BFI64
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,426 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Berg, Britten: Violin Concertos ~ Hope
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Top Customer Reviews
However they inherited their style, here is a perfect amalgam of conductor and soloist. They have set out to clarify the complexities of the Berg by merging violin and orchestra into a single vloice (the miking reflects this by not forcing Hope into the spotlight), and for the first time I found it possible to follow Berg's imagination from beginning to end. Not that the erading feels studied or academic. Hope, born in 1974, belongs to a generation of musicians for whom the work's thorny idiom comes as naturally as Bach. Compared to his free, flexible, lucid, reading, those from Stern, Perlman, and Mutter seem stilted and even confused.
Hope brings similar revelations to the Britten, which he plays -- as he does the Berg -- much more inwardly than expected. Nothing is done for show, and yet every measure is totally involving. Britten wrote in harmonies that are modernist but more conventional than Berg's -- his violin concerto followed Berg's by three years. On hearing the world premiere in Barcelona in 1936, the young Britten described the Berg as "shattering" and "sublime." Without imitating it, Britten wrote a work that can be just as mysterious and almost as devastating. The two are linked by their unnerving, grief-tinged, at times harrowing reaction to the Nazi era.Read more ›
Daniel Hope is an artist's artist, placing the composer's intentions first and 'showmanship' last. His reading of both the Berg and Britten are played with a clarity of tone and phrasing that allows him to move from the technically 'impossible' passages into the lyrical ones with complete ease. Of note is the manner in which Hope is in conversation with the orchestra (here the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Paul Watkins) during the Part II Adagio of the Berg where the orchestra is in Bach like chorale while the ornamentation is from the precise writing for the violin. Or both the opening and closing passages of the Britten when the silences and sustained lines are of paramount importance.
Others may hail the impressive Vengerov recording (coupling the Britten with the Walton Viola concerto) as more exciting, but for this listener the intimacy Daniel Hope achieves here is overwhelmingly beautiful. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, November 08
Alban Berg was completing work on his opera Lulu when he received the commission to write the concerto from Louis Krasner. The offer was especially tempting as Berg's music was performed with less frequency, thanks to the Nazis. The chances of Lulu being performed were slight, so the commission was a welcomed offer. Much has been made of the influence the death of Mannon Gropius (daughter of Alma Mahler and Walter Gropius) had on the concerto, as evidenced by the dedication "to the memory of an angel." Berg decided to make the concerto a kind of requiem for Mannon; however, he also included autobiographical elements. The full score was completed on August 11, 1935. Days later, the composer was stung by an insect and the wound turned into an abscess that later led to blood poisoning. Berg died just days after returning to Vienna on December 14.
The Violin Concerto is a remarkable mix of 12-tone and tonal melodies, mixing waltzes and folk melodies with a Bach chorale. This recording of the concerto was recently cited by Gramophone in the May 2010 issue as their choice for the best performance. Daniel Hope is intense indeed and Paul Watkins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra turn in a startling performance. The final bars are magical. The care with which the orchestra and soloist phrase and color the music is something not to be missed.
Benjamin Britten was present at the premiere performance of Berg's Violin Concerto in April 1936 in Barcelona.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't generally write reviews until I have lived with a recording for a while: I never know if a first love will cool or an initial liking will blossom or deepen. Read morePublished on November 14, 2013 by enthusiast
I already have a recording of the Berg, so I didn't download it. I had never heard Britten's Violin Concerto until I purchased this version by Hope, Watkins and the BBC Symphony. Read morePublished on August 1, 2008 by B. R. Merrick