British violinist Daniel Hope has performed with the world's major orchestras and conductors, but these days he's got his mind on Joseph Joachim, the violinist he calls "perhaps the greatest of the 19th century." Hope's most recent album release, "The Romantic Violinist," is a tribute to Joachim and his influence.
1. Hope's top selection is the second movement of Schumann's Violin Concerto. "It has a very strange and curious story," Hope says, recounting the race between Nazis and the Jewish violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who would eventually record the piece with the New York Philharmonic "When people heard this music they started to cry. When Schumann described this piece toward the end of his life, he said he thought he could hear angels singing."
2. Mendelssohn started composing his octet when he was only 14 years old, and completed the piece at 15. In his number two selection in this top five, Hope selects the scherzo from Mendelssohn's Octet. "He's somebody that I think is still underrated," Hope says of the composer. "Even though he was such a genius."
3. Brahms' Piano Quartet Op. 60 in C minor is Hope's third selection, and is again linked to Joachim, as Hope explains that Brahms wrote the concerto for Joachim. Clara Schumann found the piece to be so evocative and revealing that, Hope reports, "she understood the feelings that Brahms had for her."
4. "This piece was written for Joachim," Hope says of Bruch's Violin Concerto in G minor, first movement. "In fact, Joachim took it on and adapted it and made it to the piece that it became." In a recording of Hope's own performance, the violinist credits the work for having "everything that a violinist needs and could even wish for."
5. Dvorak's Piano Trio No. 4 "Dumky," fourth movement, is one of Hope's favorite encores. Hope points out that Joachim supported Dvorak throughout his life, a mentorship that helped to ensure Dvorak's rise in the classical music world.