By Daniel Hautzinger
Nineteen-year old violinist Chad Hoopes is certainly not the first young violinist to play the Mendelssohn concerto. (Hoopes himself first performed it with a professional orchestra when he was nine). As Donald Rosenberg notes in his well-researched liner notes for Hoopes’s new recording of the concerto, it was written for Ferdinand David, who began his career as a prodigy, and it was later taken up by the great 19th century virtuoso Joseph Joachim at the age of fourteen. Now, nearly every violinist, prodigy or not, has played it at some point in his or her career.
The Mendelssohn is thus a predictable choice for inclusion on Hoopes’s debut album, on the Naïve label. The other piece on the recording, however, is a surprise: John Adams’s 1993 violin concerto, written a century and a half after Mendelssohn’s. And Hoopes’s adventurous programming pays off. [Read more…]