Music and Vision homepage


<<  -- 2 --  Robert Anderson    HOPE AND FEAR


At the start of World War II, Britten was in the States pursuing his essential personality and a wider musical horizon. Thus the violin concerto was given its first performance by Antonio Brosa in New York on 28 March 1940 with Barbirolli at the helm. The conductor was increasingly exasperated that 'The stability and grit of our people are something hard for them to realise here.' As a conscientious objector in his twenties, Britten was looked at askance from England. The situation was well understood by Britten's publisher: the violin concerto was turned down by the Royal Philharmonic Society, since 'Britten was "unpopular" with them because of his domicile abroad!'

Daniel Hope is not only a violinist of superb accomplishment but is prepared to enter territories where I might sometimes fear to tread. I rejoice when he cooperates with Ravi Shankar in an 'East meets West' project and resuscitates Ravel's 'Luthéal', the instrument he recommended to accompany Tzigane and used again in L'enfant et les sortilèges. I wish he'd forget about jazz and try teaching some young Palestinians to play as well as he does. It is entirely commendable, though, that he wholeheartedly champions new music and performs with authority such modern classics as these concertos. The now stateless Berg was not above some Viennese sleaziness in the Allegretto of Part I [listen -- track 1, 5:01-6:05]. Rather than quote whatever balm a Bach chorale might bring to that tormented period, I prefer the tumultuous rage that begins Part II [listen -- track 2, 0:01-1:10].

Continue >>

Copyright © 13 August 2004 Robert Anderson, London UK


 << Music & Vision home      Recent CD reviews       Dominic Miller >>

Download a free realplayer 

For help listening to the sound extracts here,
please refer to our questions & answers page.