This is billed as the world-premiere recording of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in its original 1844 version--before the changes the composer made prior to publication after consultation with Ferdinand David, the work's first soloist. The changes primarily concern the solo part, and there are many of them, mostly small details that only those who know the piece intimately would notice; yet their cumulative effect is revelatory, as the concerto sounds with a new freshness and power, thanks in no small part to Daniel Hope's taut and muscular interpretation. His highly expressive tone is at once sinewy and beautifully lyrical, particularly in the slow movement, and his impeccable intonation andRead more characterful phrasing reveal the passion and originality of Mendelssohn's masterpiece in a way that makes questions concerning the use of this or that edition irrelevant. This is just terrific violin playing.
Yet, a good amount of the performance's impact is centered in the orchestral accompaniment. Thomas Hengelbrock makes the original score sound edgier and more dramatic than the one we've become accustomed to, thanks to flowing tempos, sharp attacks, pointed accents, and volatile dynamics, all brilliantly played by the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Performed in the "authentic" style, the concerto sounds more baroque than romantic, yet the emotional sweep of the music is irresistible.
There's emotion aplenty in the Octet as well, as Hope and soloists from the orchestra offer a gripping rendition, with Hope's first violin soaring above the nervous ostinatos in the first and third movements. The gorgeously rendered Andante and the joyfully sung Finale complete a hugely satisfying performance. The program concludes with Hope's accomplished arrangements of three Mendelssohn songs in seductive performances with pianist Sebastian Knauer. The recorded sound for all three venues is first rate, which adds to this disc's excellence. It's a must-have for Mendelssohn fans.
Concerto for Violin in E minor, Op. 64by Felix Mendelssohn Performer:
Daniel Hope (Violin)
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Period: Romantic Written: 1844; Germany Length: 25 Minutes 59 Secs.
Octet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 20by Felix Mendelssohn Performer:
William Conway (Cello),
Pascal Siffert (Viola),
Sophie Besancon (Violin),
Daniel Hope (Violin),
Lucy Gould (Violin),
Christian Eisenberger (Violin),
Stewart Eaton (Viola),
Kate Gould (Cello)
Period: Romantic Written: 1825; Germany Length: 30 Minutes 54 Secs. Notes: Version: 1832
Songs (6), Op. 34: no 4, Suleikaby Felix Mendelssohn Performer:
Daniel Hope (Violin),
Sebastian Knauer (Piano)
Period: Romantic Written: 1836; Germany Length: 2 Minutes 45 Secs. Notes: Arranger: Daniel Hope.
The Evolution of a Violin ConcertoJune 25, 2015By Archibald S. (Boulder, CO)See All My Reviews"This original version of Mendelssohn's violin concerto has the same overall feeling as the final familiar version, but is less refined. This is a dynamic performance by both the soloist and the orchestra, with the orchestra recorded close to the soloist. The 3rd movement is played at a very fast pace. My only reservation is that the orchestra sometimes overwhelmed the solo violin in the forte passages. For comparison I played a 1981 LP of the familiar version with Mutter and von Karajian. For me, the 1st movement was more dramatic, and the second movement more melodic, with better rhythmic variations. However, I thought the 3rd movement of the original version was more satisfying, without the virtuoso violin passages near the end of the final version."Report Abuse
ExpensiveAugust 2, 2014By STEPHEN CATHRO (Dunedin, Otago)See All My Reviews"The CD was great but with the Conversion cost & the freight charge it was a bit too expensive."Report Abuse
Very little needs to be said here.August 13, 2013By William C S. (Thousand Oaks, CA)See All My Reviews"This is one of the most exciting, propulsive performances of the E Minor Concerto that I have ever encountered in nearly 60 years of listening. It lacks for nothing, and competes with the best in the recorded lexicon, including Heifetz. It's nice to have the Octet and the additional shorter works as a very generous bonus, also well played. Sympathetic leadership in the Concerto from Thomas Hengelbrock. We rarely hear on CD now from the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. This CD has been in short supply worldwide since its release, almost always being unavailable even on Amazon. Grab it while it's available. I have two copies; I rarely duplicate in my collection."Report Abuse