As the product description says, this is a different Mendelssohn Violin Cto., taken from the composer's origianl intentions in 1844. The solo line tosses a few surprises our way, but to quote the Gramophone, "Many of the changes are subtle - the most obvious are octave transpositions and a shorter first-movement cadenza." The accompaniment remains on the whole unchanged, and even experienced listeners might mark down the changes in the solo part of a quirk of Hope's. Although a bit less graciously written for the instrument, the original version isn't inferior. Hope, who plays wtih urgency here, has unearthed a minor gem that every lover of this music will be delighted by.
The Octet is given a similarly quick, raw treatment, very much outside the salon and into the open air. I heard Hope in chamber music in Santa Fe last summer, and Hope like his mentor Yehudi Menuhin, shnes in a group. He's a remarkable combinaiton of thinker and virtuoso. As a member of the Beaux Art Trio for five years, he's also well versed in how to balance chaamber music. There's a marked lack of vibrato, nodding toward period style, which helps clarify the separate strands of all eight voices. My only reservation is that the playing gets so aggressive and nervy that some of the work's fairy charm is muffled. The CD is filled out with three song arrangement for violin that Hope uses to showcase his dramatic abilty to imitate the human voice.
DG's engineering is bright and detailed to the point of seeming like a x-ray, which is in keeping with the forcefulness of the musicmaking. Even with a few quibbles, Hope's debut on DG is impressive.