Daniel Hope Releases Escape to Paradise: The Hollywood Album – Including a Performance by Sting – on Deutsche Grammophon, September 2
“Daniel Hope is a force to be reckoned with.” (Gramophone)
On September 2, Deutsche Grammophon releases Classical BRIT-Award-winner Daniel Hope’s new recording, Escape to Paradise: The Hollywood Album, in the US (The album is released in Europe a day earlier.) The British violinist has a “thriving solo career” per the New York Times, which “has been built on inventive programming and a probing interpretive style.” The new release draws on Hope’s extensive research into European composers – among them Eric Wolfgang Korngold, Miklós Rózsa, Hanns Eisler, and Franz Waxman to name a few – who fled fascist persecution to relocate to Los Angeles where they penned some of the 20th century’s most iconic film scores. Recorded with Alexander Shelley leading the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and guest artists including vocalists Sting and Max Raabe, Hope’s unprecedented new collection juxtaposes examples of the émigré composers’ film and concert music with selections by those they influenced – like leading contemporary movie composers John Williams, Ennio Morricone, and Thomas Newman – in a nostalgic search for the quintessentially lavish “Hollywood sound.”
A trailer for Escape to Paradise is available here
Neither this spirit of investigation nor the Holocaust theme mark new territory for Hope, a musical activist whose commanding artistry goes hand in hand with a deep commitment to humanitarian causes. Ever seeking new and enlightening ways to share the music he loves, the violinist’s previous projects include the “sensitively made documentary” Refuge in Music (BBC Music) and Terezín/Theresienstadt, “an album that transcends criticism and must be heard” (Gramophone), both of which showcase works by composers murdered by the Nazis.
Escape to Paradise does however mark the first time that Hope has turned his focus to the music of those who managed to get away. He recalls, “Having spent the past 15 years looking at composers who didn’t escape – the silenced voices – I decided it was time to take a closer look at those who did. … Hollywood represented the quintessence of escape – on many levels.” The album took shape after years spent combing through Paramount Pictures’ archives and researching the masters of the film score through interviews with musicians, composers, family members, and scholars. As a result, as award-winning musicologist Axel Brüggemann explains in an insightful liner note,
“Hope…paint[s] a vivid aural picture of how the anguish [the Jewish émigré composers] experienced in leaving their old culture behind and their longing for a better future became the basis for the Hollywood Sound. His illuminating selection reveals the arc that stretches from Erich Wolfgang Korngold to the scores for later film classics such as Schindler’s List and Cinema Paradiso.”
Thus Hope traces the development of the distinctive Hollywood sound, from its roots in pre-war Europe to the present day. His program includes a number of important forerunners of film music. In its romanticism, lush orchestrations, and classical lineage, the pantomime-ballet Der Schneemann (1908) – composed by Austria-Hungary’s Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) as a prodigy of just eleven – already anticipated much of what was to come. Similarly, “Speak Low” (1943), a Broadway number by Kurt Weill (1900-50), evokes Berlin cabaret, another essential ingredient in the Hollywood mix, as rendered on Escape to Paradise with the help of old-style German singing sensation Max Raabe.
Weill is best known for his collaborations with Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht, whose poem “An den kleinen Radioapparat” was set to music in The Hollywood Songbook (1942–43) by another great Jewish émigré, Hanns Eisler (1898-1962). It was while researching Escape to Paradise that Hope came across “The Secret Marriage,” a version of Eisler’s song with original lyrics by pop legend Sting, on the 16-time Grammy Award-winning singer’s 1987 album …Nothing Like the Sun. As Hope recounts,
“Sting – a great musician whom I’ve known since I was a boy, when he bought Yehudi Menuhin’s house in London, the house in which I practically grew up – agreed to sing his lyrics in a new arrangement by Paul Bateman that allowed me to join him. As with the rest of this album, escape is not just a literal flight but an imaginary idea that Sting’s own text puts across quite succinctly.”
Representing the mid-century heyday of the Hollywood sound are such notable Jewish exiles as Budapest-born Miklós Rózsa (1907-95), whose outstanding output includes the Academy Award-winning scores for Spellbound (1945) and Ben-Hur (1959) as well as the Academy Award-nominated score for El Cid (1961); Oscar and Golden Globe-winner Franz Waxman (1906-67), exemplified by one of his lesser-known films, Come Back, Little Sheba (1952); and Korngold, another of Hollywood’s great musical innovators. Rather than featuring Korngold’s award-winning film scores, however, Hope reprises his interpretation of the composer’s sumptuous Violin Concerto, a mature masterpiece in which, the UK’s Guardian reported last year,
“Hope’s tone was darkly resonant, his playing as virtuosic as that of Jascha Heifitz, who premiered the work. The depth he invested in the music was striking, demanding that it be treated seriously as absolute music, albeit passionately romantic. … Hope’s integrity in these matters puts him in a league of his own.”
As for today’s inheritors of the mantle, Escape to Paradise presents excerpts from three comparably lavish contemporary classics. Regarding his selection, Hope comments:
“Schindler’s List only confirms my belief that we would not have John Williams without Korngold, and the film highlights one of the Shoah’s most extraordinary escapes.
“Thomas Newman is the son of Alfred Newman, a legendary Hollywood figure who escaped poverty and yet held the record for the most Oscar-nominated film scores until John Williams overtook him. Thomas Newman’s track [from American Beauty] is particularly haunting and the subject matter is very much about escape from one life to another.
“Cinema Paradiso too deals with escapism: the boy dreaming of the images he sees as a kind of paradise, which may not actually be quite as it seems. Ennio Morricone is someone who worked his way up the Hollywood ladder, like many of the exiled composers.”
Rounding out the collection are relative rarities from Italy’s Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968), Germany’s Werner Richard Heymann (1896-1961), and Austria’s Walter Jurmann (1895-1968) and Eric Zeisl (1905-59). Finally, Escape to Paradise concludes with a version of “As Time Goes By,” the nostalgic number made famous by Casablanca (1942): “a monumental film,” as Hope puts it, “that epitomises the idea of exile and escape.”
Two tracks – Sting’s take on Eisler in “The Secret Marriage” and the “Love Theme” from Morricone’s Nuovo Cinema Paradiso – will also be available for instant download when Escape to Paradise is preordered from iTunes.
Further details of Escape to Paradise: The Hollywood Album are given below, a trailer is available here, and more information is provided at the artist’s web site: danielhope.com. For high-resolution photos, click here.
ESCAPE TO PARADISE: The Hollywood Album
Deutsche Grammophon release
US release date: September 2
With the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Alexander Shelley, conductor
Guest artists: Sting and Max Raabe, vocals
Maria Todtenhaupt, harp; Jacques Ammon, piano
Quintet of the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin
Miklós Rózsa: “Love Theme” from Ben-Hur (with RSPO/Shelley)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Violin Concerto In D, Op. 35 (with RSPO/Shelley)
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Sea Murmurs (with Maria Todtenhaupt, harp)
Hanns Eisler: “The Secret Marriage” (orig. title: “An den kleinen Radioapparat”) from The Hollywood Songbook (with Sting, vocals)
Miklós Rózsa: “Love Theme” from El Cid (with RSPO/Shelley)
Eric Zeisl: Menuhim’s Song (with Jacques Ammon, piano)
Franz Waxman: “Reminiscences” from Come Back, Little Sheba (with Quartet of the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin; Jacques Ammon, piano)
Walter Jurmann (arr. Bronislaw Kaper): “Tränen in der Geige” (with Quintet of the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin; Jacques Ammon, piano; Maria Todtenhaupt, harp)
Kurt Weill: Speak Low* (with Max Raabe, vocals; RSPO/Shelley)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Der Schneemann (with RSPO/Shelley)
Miklós Rózsa: Prelude and “Love Theme” from Spellbound (with RSPO/Shelley)
Ennio Morricone: “Love Theme” from Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (with RSPO/Shelley)
John Williams: Theme from Schindler’s List (with RSPO/Shelley)
Thomas Newman: American Beauty (with RSPO/Shelley)
Werner Richard Heymann: “Irgendwo auf der Welt” (with Quintet of the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin; Jacques Ammon, piano; Maria Todtenhaupt, harp)
Herman Hupfeld: “As Time Goes By” (with RSPO/Shelley)
Hanns Eisler: “An den kleinen Radioapparat” from The Hollywood Songbook* (with RSPO/Shelley)
* Available as an iTunes bonus track, , in arrangement for solo violin and orchestra.07/30/2014