Born in Durban, South Africa in 1974 the violinist Daniel Hope moved to London as a child as his parents escaped the apartheid regime, and this is sort of the starting point for Escape To Paradise (released 18th August).

In the sleeve notes Hope tells of how before his parents escaped apartheid his Grandparents fled Hitler’s Berlin to live in exile in South Africa and he wanted to discover some of the musicians who managed to escape Hitler’s tyranny, rather than, as he has in the past, explore the silenced voices that didn’t.

So why Hollywood tunes? Well, referring to the sleeve notes again, as Hope was looking for which tracks he wanted to include on his next record it was becoming clear that the theme wasn’t so much exile as escape and where better to escape than in the fabricated landscape that is Hollywood.

The record searches for the big and bold “Hollywood sound”, or rather as he says “…intrinsically European expression that met the sweeping gestures of Hollywood in an age when big was the requirement.”

So here’s the escape; the escape from Europe, the escape within the music and the escapism of the silver screen.

Not all the composers included herein are refugees though and there are three composers still living included, but look at these living composers’ history, or music, and there is the escape story again, whether from abject poverty of the composer himself or the subject matter (Schindlers List and Hotel Paradiso).

Ok, so these are BIG themes and it would appear at first glance that this album on Deutsche Grammophon and available through HIGHRESAUDIO would be hard and heavy going for a non-classical type such as myself, but it’s really not at all. The sound is big, but at times haunting, Hope’s violin playing is really beautiful and there’s even an appearance by Sting on The Secret Marriage.

Composers include Miklos Rozsa, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Hans Eisler, Eric Zeisl, Franz Waxman, Walter Jurmann, Bronislaw Kaper, Kurt Weill, Ennio Morricone, John Williams, Thomas Newman, Werner Richard Heymann and Herman Hupfeld.

An interesting concept for a record and one which works because of the diverse nature of many of the compositions, glued by the common poignancy of Hope’s violin.

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