DANIEL HOPe, violin with the
the zurich chamber orchestra
Program: “A Tribute to Yehudi Menuhin”
(Note: if you prefer this program but are not sure the Yehudi Menuhin narrative will resonate with your audience, Daniel will offer an alternate narrative for this program to help you market it effectively.)
J.S. Bach: Concerto for 2 violins in D-minor – A work Hope performed regularly with Menuhin
Arvo Pärt: Darf ich – composed for Menuhin’s 80th birthday
Philip Glass: Echorus - composed for Menuhin’s 80th birthday
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in D-Minor – discovered by Menuhin in the 1950s.
Vivaldi: Concerto for 2 violins in A minor – a work Hope performed regularly with Menuhin
El Khoury: Unfinished Journey – commissioned by Hope for the 10th anniv. of Menuhin’s death
Bartok: Romanian folk dances – Highlighting Menuhin’s particular friendship with Bartok.
20 Musicians: 5-5-4-3-2 + harpsichord (provided by presenter)
Daniel Hope on Yehudi Menuhin:
Yehudi Menuhin is the reason I became a violinist. I was privileged to know Menuhin all my life – 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. 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 -- my father was offered a so-called exit permit. This meant we could leave - but never return.
My parents settled in London, where very soon, their money ran out. At the eleventh hour, facing a calamity, we had some incredible luck: an employment agency offered my mother a compelling choice of part-time jobs: secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury or to the violinist, Yehudi Menuhin. She chose Menuhin. What should have lasted 6 months, became 24 years.
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. To this day, Menuhin’s violin sound remains in my ear, so unique and fascinatingly beautiful. Many years later, with Menuhin in his role as conductor, we performed over 60 concerts around the world, including his final concert.
I have curated tonight’s programme in celebration of Menuhin’s unique talent: it says a lot too about the diversity of Yehudi’s tastes in music. The Bach and Vivaldi Concerti are the works I performed most with him; the Glass and Pärt were dedicated to him; he discovered the Mendelssohn Concerto and gave its world première in New York in 1952; and I commissioned El Khoury to write a work to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Yehudi’s death. And recalling Menuhin’s close friendship to Bartok seemed an appropriate way to conclude our program.
On 7th March 1999, I played Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto in Düsseldorf, conducted by Menuhin. It was to be his final concert. After the Schnittke, Menuhin encouraged me to play an encore. I spontaneously chose Ravel’s 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. Yehudi pushed me out onto the stage and, different to the other nights, sat amongst the orchestra listening to it. Perhaps it may have been in some way prophetic. Five days later, he passed away.