Daniel Hope plays Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

Teaser

With the Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester conducted by Daniel Harding

Synopsis

While the ZDF/Arte version of the film focuses on Hope’s interpretation of Mendelssohn, the "Swedish" version also pays attention to another significant aspect of Daniel Hope; his moving family history and strong affinity with Jewish culture. Hope talks about this important influence in the reopened and beautifully restored Rykestrasse Synagogue in Berlin. We see him perform Erwin Schulhoff’s „sonata for solo violin - andante cantabile“ as well as his own interpretation of Maurice Ravel’s "Kaddish". Both pieces are very important to Daniel Hope and he plays them over and over again as an encore at the end of his numerous concerts all over the world. We proceed to Mendelssohn's grave at the Trinity cemetery in Berlin. With the impressive scenery of the “Konzerthaus Berlin” in the background and around the corner from the former residence of the Mendelssohn family - Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s very own territory so to speak – Daniel Hope plays his transcription of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s "Suleika" and "Hexenlied” (witches’ song), accompanied by Sebastian Knauer on piano. „Music is infectious, whether you want to or not, and it doesn't depend on language, nationality or faith. If you are willing to open your ears, it is the most beautiful thing ever." ‘Daniel Hope’, the longer version of the film (57 min.), produced for Swedish television SVT by Gösta Courkamp, was broadcasted in January 2008 and reached 8% of the national viewers – which is very unusual for a broadcast about classical music.

Press release

Many informative biographies of artists exist, but none are as interesting and exceptional as Daniel Hope’s biography. Hope was born in South Africa into a German/Jewish family, Jewish through his maternal side (the family was forced to leave Berlin because of the Nazi persecution).
Daniel’s father, an author, encountered difficulties because of his work against Apartheid and the family left for England.
Unfortunately white South Africans were not welcome in Great Britain and caused the Hopes to apply for Irish Citizenship (Mr. Hope’s father had Irish nationality at the time he left for South Africa). Once settled in London, Mrs. Hope started work as an assistant to Yehudi Menuhin who noticed Daniel’s artistic talent and encouraged him. Baptized a Catholic and now a confirmed Protestant, Daniel Hope lives in Amsterdam and Hamburg together with his German wife.
While the ZDF/Arte version of the film focuses on Hope’s interpretation of Mendelssohn, the "Swedish" version also pays attention to another significant aspect of Daniel Hope; his moving family history and strong affinity with Jewish culture. Hope talks about this important influence in the reopened and beautifully restored Rykestrasse Synagogue in Berlin. We see him perform Erwin Schulhoff’s „sonata for solo violin - andante cantabile“ as well as his own interpretation of Maurice Ravel’s "Kaddish". Both pieces are very important to Daniel Hope and he plays them over and over again as an encore at the end of his numerous concerts all over the world. We proceed to Mendelssohn's grave at the Trinity cemetery in Berlin. With the impressive scenery of the “Konzerthaus Berlin” in the background and around the corner from the former residence of the Mendelssohn family - Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s very own territory so to speak – Daniel Hope plays his transcription of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s "Suleika" and "Hexenlied” (witches’ song), accompanied by Sebastian Knauer on piano. „Music is infectious, whether you want to or not, and it doesn't depend on language, nationality or faith. If you are willing to open your ears, it is the most beautiful thing ever."

For all these different influences, that represent the history of the 20th century, Daniel Hope finds an independent language that expresses the common denominator: music.

At age 33 Daniel Hope already is a top violinist. In Stockholm he met another young and equally exceptional talent: conductor Daniel Harding, Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Principal Conductor of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Together they performed the original version of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s concert in ‘E-minor op. 64 in the “Berwaldhallen”. This concert is rarely performed yet one of the best known concerts in music history. If you watch this version you will understand why so many violinists are reluctant to play it. It demands much more technical skill compared to the “last” ("letzte"), the version most frequently played nowadays – the version Mendelssohn made more ‘accessible’ for violinist Ferdinand David. After having admired each other for a long time this was their first collaboration. The film shows pictures of two sympathetic and charismatic musicians working intimately together as a team. We use these aesthetics by making quick cuts, which is very unusual in classical music, and we stay close to the musicians. Observing Hope and Harding at "work" one thinks an emotional choreographer produced the performance - it is the music that sustains them and creates an atmosphere that cannot be reached by most musicians.

Cast & Crew

Director
Gösta Courkamp
Director of photography
Günther Uttendorfer, Christopher Rowe, Jutta von Stieglitz-Yousufy, Peter Fredlund, Mark Hennicke, Kristian Öryd, Arne Ohlin
Associate producer
Hanne Kaisik
Editor (Cut)
Ruxandra Radulescu
Sound
Uli Aumüller, Jan Wichers, Rune Sundvall, Jan Waldemark
Compositing
Georg Morawietz
Editorial Jounalist
Christopher Janssen