Violinist Daniel Hope is the current president of Beethoven-Haus, where the composer was born in 1770 in Bonn, Germany. The house acts as a museum, library, publishing house and performance space, with Hope calling it ‘the nerve centre’ for Beethoven scholars.
Displayed in front of Hope and pianist Sylvia Thereza, is Beethoven’s own traveling desk, a compact model he used to write letters and perhaps compose music.
From the NPR Music video description: ’The music Hope chose for this special performance makes an unexpected connection between Beethoven and St. Patrick’s Day. Beginning around 1810, Beethoven was commissioned to arrange his own versions of folk tunes from the British Isles. These were intended for amateurs to play at home, but with Beethoven nothing was ever easy.
’One of these tunes, a theme with variations, is called St. Patrick’s Day, which fits with Hope’s Irish heritage. The violinist begins with a bittersweet arrangement of the Londonderry Air, better known as Danny Boy when sung. But the soul of this concert is surely the slow movement of Beethoven’s Sixth Violin Sonata, with its aching melody that unfolds like prayerful song, wafting through the halls where the composer once walked.’
Hope will also celebrate his Irish ancestry with the premiere of a new documentary Celtic Dreams: Daniel Hope’s Hidden Irish History on PBS stations throughout the US. Watch the trailer here: