Julie Amacher, Classical MPR
Daniel Hope — Hope (DG)
“Music doesn't let me go. I always knew that it was the focus of my life, but it became a lifeline,” violinist Daniel Hope said about the pandemic. “It became a lifeline to the outside world. It was the luxury of time and connections to so many musicians that were willing to experiment and improvise that helped me find hope.”
That resulted in his most creative project to date, his new recording with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Hope.
“I've been music director of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra since 2016,” he said. “I've known them since I was a little boy. I heard them when I was 3, and it was the first orchestra that I experienced a violin concerto and symphony. An explosive and emotional orchestral sound came from the ensemble. I never dreamed that 40-odd-years later, I would be the music director, and we've grown enormously together since.”
How did the idea for this album emerge?
“Throughout the lockdown, we started an online series concerts, Hope at Home. Our message was to rediscover hope through music. The connection between these ideas of positive feelings, energy and music was so strong that we decided to make an album which tries to tap into them. I did feel there was a tremendous connection to the people, and that meant a lot to me during the lockdown. That's really how this album came together.”
Why did you focus on songs and the human voice on this new recording?
“It was very hard for musicians not to be able to perform and travel during the pandemic. But for vocalists, in particular, the idea of singing was banned, more or less. You were just not allowed to sing. The images of people singing from their balconies and connecting via Zoom was so powerful and moving. I thought, let's put the idea of the human voice at the center of this album.”
Can you talk about the evolution of the opening work by Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez?
“I heard this piece as a child. I became obsessed with this gorgeous recording of it by Jose Carreras. I said to myself one day I want to play this on the violin. I actually wanted to sing it, but I realized my voice wasn't good enough to do that. I thought, why not create a version with violin? I had this idea for decades.”
To hear the rest of my conversation, download the extended podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.