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Violinist Daniel Hope and pianist Alexey Botvinov - pieces by Valentin Silvestrov - CD Review, November 23th, 2022

Monday, 12 December 2022 , ora 10.47

Since the war in Ukraine began, renowned violinist Daniel Hope has shown his strong support for the Ukrainian people, and in March he did so by releasing an album of 20th century pieces by Ukrainian composers. Entitled Musik for Ukraine, it was recorded with pianist Alexey Botvinov. Since then, the violinist has shown his willingness to release a new album this year, also in support of Ukrainian musicians, featuring works by Valentin Silvestrov, a composer Daniel Hope has long admired. Finally, the album was released by Deutsche Grammophon on 30 September 30th, on Valentin Silvestrov's 85th birthday. "Silvestrov's music breathes and lives melodically, when we perform this composer's creations in front of an audience, they have a profound effect," says Daniel Hope, who evokes the simplicity of this music, the deepest form of soothing human feelings and emotions in these delicate moments we are witnessing. "His music speaks to the soul, to the source of being human, with an almost childlike innocence. And yet these scores are very dense, with many dynamic and expressive notations. So what seems to be simple, the basic melody is conceived to be constantly changing... I don't know any other composer like him. He's deeply emotional, and his music - expressive in a restrained way," says violinist Daniel Hope, who recently recorded his album also with Ukrainian pianist Alexey Botvinov, with whom he has collaborated before on a record with music by Alfred Schnittke; then in March the two musicians gave charity concerts in Dresden and Berlin.

Valentin Silvestrov is one of the most important contemporary composers. Having fled the war and settled in Berlin this year, following the Russian invasion of his native country, Ukraine, he had an extraordinary career in Kiev and on international stages. His music is increasingly performed by famous artists such as Helene Grimaud and Daniel Hope. His songwriting style, somewhat similar to that of Arvo Part's works, uses modal and tonal, post-modern and neoclassical techniques, creating unique sound textures full of emotion; and, in some of his scores, Valentin Silvestrov is inspired by Ukrainian folklore. "I don't write new music. Music is a response to an echo that already exists", says the composer, who this year received a very special birthday present: the release of an album with pieces he created for violin and piano, recorded this spring in Germany by Daniel Hope and Alexey Botvinov.

Larisa Clempuș
Translated by Andreea Zofotă,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu