Classical Album of the Week: British Violinist Daniel Hope Explores Music of the Belle Epoque

Jul 6, 2020

July 6. 2020. Belle époque, or “beautiful era,” represents the time in European history between the end of the Franco-Prussian War (1871) to the onset of World War I (1914) when science and the arts flourished. Violinist Daniel Hope explores the music of the Belle époque in his 17th release for Deutsche Grammophon.

Coaxing gorgeous tone from his 1742 “Ex-Lipinski”  Guarneri del Gesu, Hope partners with a diverse array of artists in music from the era that’s familiar (such as Massenet’s "Meditation from Thais") to the then-avant-garde (Anton Webern’s “Four Pieces,” Op. 7.)

Hope anchors this generous double-CD set with substantial orchestral performances that include his Zürcher Kammerorchester. The most substantial work on the album is Ernest Chausson’s passionate and intricate Concerto in D major for violin, piano, and string quartet, and it receives a superb and committed interpretation from Hope and pianist Lise De La Salle.

The gems on this album are numerous, but some of my favorites include Richard Strauss’s “Morgen!” ("Tomorrow") with Hope and soprano Mojca Erdmann, and an early “Notturno” of Arnold Schoenberg, with Jane Berthe, harp.  New, elegant arrangements of works such as Elgar’s "Chanson du matin," and Reynaldo Hahn’s “A Chloris” give the pieces transparency, and shine in elegant, sensitive performances by Hope and pianist Stephen Crawford Phillips.

Daniel Hope’s Belle Epoque Track Listing:

CD 1: Orchestral Music

Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet in D M, Op. 21
with Lise delaSalle and Zurcher Kammerorchester

Claude Debussy (1862-1918)- Reverie, arranged for violin and string orchestra by Christian Badzura

Jules Massenet (1842-1912)- Meditation from Thais, violin, harp and string orchestra, arranged by Max Knoth, with Jane Berthe, harp

Richard Strauss (1864-1949) "Morgen!" Op. 27 No. 4,  Soprano, vn, harp, horns and string orch
Mojca Erdmann, soprano; Maria Todtenhaupt, harp

Arnold Schoenberg, (1874-1951) - "Notturno" for violin, harp and string orchestra, with Jane Berthe, harp

Edward Elgar (1857-1934) "Chanson de matin," arranged by Paul Bateman for  violin, harp and string orchestra, with Jane Berthe, harp

Elgar: Introduction and Allegro, Op. 47, for  String Quartet and Orchestra
Daniel Hope, solo violin; Daria Zappa solo vn II, Ryszard Groblewski, solo viola, Nicola Mosca, solo cello

CD 2 Chamber Music of the Belle Epoque, with Stephen Crawford Phillips, piano

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943), "Romance" (from 2 Morceaux de salon) Op 6/1

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
Piece in D minor

Alexander Zemlinksy (1871-1942)
Serenade in A Major, 1. Mäßsig - Energisch

Charles Koechlin (1867-1950)
4 Little Pieces for piano, violin, and horn
with Stefan Dohr, horn

Gabriel Faure (1845-1924)
Andante, Morceaux de lecture

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Sonate posthume

Alban Berg (1885-1935)
“Schließe mir die Augen beide” (“Close both my eyes”)
Winter (No. 10 from Jugendlieder - Vol. 2)

George Enescu (1881-1955)
Impromptu concertant
Chaleureux et mouvemente

Paul Juon (1872-1940)
Berceuse (no. 3 of 4 Pieces)

Frank Bridge (1879=1947)
Valse russe from "Miniatures"  (No. 7)
With Yibai Chen, cello

Debussy
La fille aux cheveux de lin” from Preludes Bk 1, No. 8

Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962)
“Liebesleid”

Reynaldo Hahn (1874-1947)
“A Chloris”