My tribute to Yehudi Menuhin (2016)

Cover

My tribute to Yehudi Menuhin

  1. Allegro / FELIX MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in D minor
  2. Andante / FELIX MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in D minor
  3. Allegro / FELIX MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in D minor
  4. BECHARA EL-KHOURY D Unfinished Journey
  5. STEVE REICH Duet
  6. Allegro / ANTONIO VIVALDI Concerto for Two Violins and Strings in A Minor
  7. Larghetto e spiritoso / Vivaldi Concerto For Two Violins And Strings In A Minor
  8. Allegro / Vivaldi Concerto For Two Violins And Strings In A Minor
  9. JOHN TAVENER Song of the Angel
  10. HANS WERNER HENZE Adagio adagio
  11. EDWARD ELGAR Salut d’amour op. 12
  12. BÉLA BARTÓK 44 Duos for Two Violins, Rutén Kolomejka
  13. BÉLA BARTÓK 44 Duos for Two Violins, Bánkódás
  14. BÉLA BARTÓK 44 Duos for Two Violins, Szól A Duda - Változata
  15. GEORGE ENESCU Hora Unirii
  16. JO KNÜMANN Rumänisch
  17. MAURICE RAVEL Deux mélodies hébraïques




My tribute to Yehudi Menuhin

Daniel Hope – My Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin

Yehudi Menuhin is the reason I became a violinist. As he used to say, I fell into his lap as a baby of two.

For my parents, life in 1970s South Africa had become intolerable, marked as it was by that tragedy mingled with farce, so characteristic of the appalling apartheid regime. We lived in Durban, where my father co-founded the literary magazine Bolt, publishing poems by writers of many races. From that moment on, his phone was tapped and my parents were placed under permanent surveillance. They had no option but to leave the country, but my father was only offered a so-called exit permit. This meant you could leave but never return.

My parents settled in London, where very soon their money ran out. We had nowhere to go.

At the eleventh hour, facing a calamity, we had some incredible luck: an employment agency offered my mother a compelling choice of jobs: secretary to either the Archbishop of Canterbury or to the violinist, Yehudi Menuhin. She chose Menuhin, and their association lasted 24 years until his death.

Our life changed immediately and forever. For the next years, I grew up in Menuhin’s house in Highgate, London, where my mother would take me every day to play, while she worked. Menuhin was a wonderfully spontaneous man. He’d leave his Guarneri del Gesù in an open violin case on the table, he never put it away. He picked it up and played it, almost as if he were drinking a glass of water. He once told me: “One has to play every day. One is like a bird, and can you imagine a bird saying ‘I’m tired today, I don’t feel like flying’?” The violin was a part of him. To this day, his sound remains in my ear, so unique and so fascinatingly beautiful.

Where does one even begin to summarize a unique career spanning seventy-five years by one of the greatest musicians in history? Perhaps Menuhin’s debut in 1924 in San Francisco at the age of seven; or his debut in Berlin in 1929, after which Albert Einstein exclaimed “Now I know there is a God in heaven!” Or his performance and legendary recording of the Elgar concerto under the composer’s baton in 1932; perhaps his visit to the liberated concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen with the composer Benjamin Britten in 1945; or his highly controversial decision to return to Germany in 1947 and to perform with Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic, the first Jewish artist after the war to do so. Only seven of Menuhin’s 82 years were not spent on the road.

Early on in my life, I had the chance to study and perform some of Bartok’s Duos with Menuhin. It was an incredible experience for me, and an introduction to Bartok’s extraordinary music. Many years later, with Menuhin in his role as conductor, we performed over 60 concerts around the world, including almost all of the standard violin concerti, as well as several contemporary works.

These included Mendelssohn’s early D minor Concerto, which he famously discovered in 1951, and also many works for two violins, such as the A minor Double Concerto by Vivaldi.

On 7th March 1999, I played Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto in Düsseldorf, conducted by Lord Menuhin. It was to be Yehudi’s final concert. After the Schnittke, Menuhin encouraged me to play an encore. I spontaneously chose Kaddish, Ravel’s musical version of the Jewish prayer for the dead. I had grown up on Menuhin’s interpretation of this work and wanted to dedicate it to him. Menuhin pushed me out onto the stage and sat amongst the orchestra listening to it. Perhaps it may have been in some way prophetic. Five days later, he passed away.

There’s hardly a passage in all of these great works where I don’t stop for a minute and think of Menuhin.

Yehudi called himself my “musical grandfather”. Now, in celebration of what would have been his centenary, my friends and I can finally pay our respects to this great man, in a manner I feel certain he would have loved.

Daniel Hope




Daniel Hope: My Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin

Release date: Feb 2
Label: Deutsche Grammophon

Track listing:

Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847): Violin Concerto in D minor
Bechara El-Khoury (b. 1957): Unfinished Journey for violin and strings
Steve Reich (b. 1936): Duet for two violins and strings
Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741): Concerto for Two Violins and Strings in A minor, RV 522
John Tavener (1944–2013): Song of the Angel for soprano, violin and strings
Hans-Werner Henze (1926–2012): Adagio adagio, a serenade for violin, cello and piano
Edward Elgar (1857–1934), arr. Christian Abdzura: Salut d’amour for violin, piano and strings
Béla Bartók (1881–1945): Nos. 35, 28, & 36 from 44 Duos for Two Violins
George Enescu (1881–1955): O Hora unirii for violin and piano
Jo Knümann (1895–1952), arr. Christian Badzura: Rumänisch for violin and strings ·
Maurice Ravel (1895–1952), reduction by Lucien Garban: No. 1, “Kaddish,” from Deux mélodies hébraiques for violin and piano

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My tribute to Yehudi Menuhin (2016)

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Daniel Hope – My Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin

Yehudi Menuhin is the reason I became a violinist. As he used to say, I fell into his lap as a baby of two.

For my parents, life in 1970s South Africa had become intolerable, marked as it was by that tragedy mingled with farce, so characteristic of the appalling apartheid regime. We lived in Durban, where my father co-founded the literary magazine Bolt, publishing poems by writers of many races. From that moment on, his phone was tapped and my parents were placed under permanent surveillance. They had no option but to leave the country, but my father was only offered a so-called exit permit. This meant you could leave but never return.

My parents settled in London, where very soon their money ran out. We had nowhere to go.

At the eleventh hour, facing a calamity, we had some incredible luck: an employment agency offered my mother a compelling choice of jobs: secretary to either the Archbishop of Canterbury or to the violinist, Yehudi Menuhin. She chose Menuhin, and their association lasted 24 years until his death.

Our life changed immediately and forever. For the next years, I grew up in Menuhin’s house in Highgate, London, where my mother would take me every day to play, while she worked. Menuhin was a wonderfully spontaneous man. He’d leave his Guarneri del Gesù in an open violin case on the table, he never put it away. He picked it up and played it, almost as if he were drinking a glass of water. He once told me: “One has to play every day. One is like a bird, and can you imagine a bird saying ‘I’m tired today, I don’t feel like flying’?” The violin was a part of him. To this day, his sound remains in my ear, so unique and so fascinatingly beautiful.

Where does one even begin to summarize a unique career spanning seventy-five years by one of the greatest musicians in history? Perhaps Menuhin’s debut in 1924 in San Francisco at the age of seven; or his debut in Berlin in 1929, after which Albert Einstein exclaimed “Now I know there is a God in heaven!” Or his performance and legendary recording of the Elgar concerto under the composer’s baton in 1932; perhaps his visit to the liberated concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen with the composer Benjamin Britten in 1945; or his highly controversial decision to return to Germany in 1947 and to perform with Wilhelm Furtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic, the first Jewish artist after the war to do so. Only seven of Menuhin’s 82 years were not spent on the road.

Early on in my life, I had the chance to study and perform some of Bartok’s Duos with Menuhin. It was an incredible experience for me, and an introduction to Bartok’s extraordinary music. Many years later, with Menuhin in his role as conductor, we performed over 60 concerts around the world, including almost all of the standard violin concerti, as well as several contemporary works.

These included Mendelssohn’s early D minor Concerto, which he famously discovered in 1951, and also many works for two violins, such as the A minor Double Concerto by Vivaldi.

On 7th March 1999, I played Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto in Düsseldorf, conducted by Lord Menuhin. It was to be Yehudi’s final concert. After the Schnittke, Menuhin encouraged me to play an encore. I spontaneously chose Kaddish, Ravel’s musical version of the Jewish prayer for the dead. I had grown up on Menuhin’s interpretation of this work and wanted to dedicate it to him. Menuhin pushed me out onto the stage and sat amongst the orchestra listening to it. Perhaps it may have been in some way prophetic. Five days later, he passed away.

There’s hardly a passage in all of these great works where I don’t stop for a minute and think of Menuhin.

Yehudi called himself my “musical grandfather”. Now, in celebration of what would have been his centenary, my friends and I can finally pay our respects to this great man, in a manner I feel certain he would have loved.

Daniel Hope

  1. Allegro / FELIX MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in D minor
  2. Andante / FELIX MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in D minor
  3. Allegro / FELIX MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in D minor
  4. BECHARA EL-KHOURY D Unfinished Journey
  5. STEVE REICH Duet
  6. Allegro / ANTONIO VIVALDI Concerto for Two Violins and Strings in A Minor
  7. Larghetto e spiritoso / Vivaldi Concerto For Two Violins And Strings In A Minor
  8. Allegro / Vivaldi Concerto For Two Violins And Strings In A Minor
  9. JOHN TAVENER Song of the Angel
  10. HANS WERNER HENZE Adagio adagio
  11. EDWARD ELGAR Salut d’amour op. 12
  12. BÉLA BARTÓK 44 Duos for Two Violins, Rutén Kolomejka
  13. BÉLA BARTÓK 44 Duos for Two Violins, Bánkódás
  14. BÉLA BARTÓK 44 Duos for Two Violins, Szól A Duda - Változata
  15. GEORGE ENESCU Hora Unirii
  16. JO KNÜMANN Rumänisch
  17. MAURICE RAVEL Deux mélodies hébraïques