Monday 4 May 2020

Ravel's Kaddish with Daniel Hope

Ravel's Kaddish with Daniel Hope

Daniel Hope's series of 30 Hope@Home programmes with other prominent musicians, broadcast live by ARTE Concert from his living-room in Berlin, has provided entertainment, solace, support, joy and inspiration for millions of viewers worldwide in these difficult times, when many are in compulsory lock-down at home. His fascinating programmes of short works included part of Ravel's Kaddish - inspired by a Jewish prayer of praise and mourning. 

I painted kinetic images to this work live with Daniel Hope and Sebastian Knauer in 2016, as part of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Lübeck, to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Yehudi Menuhin, who on April 22nd. this year would have been 104. 

Daniel introduced our performance with a poignant story about his dear friend and mentor. After a performance in Düsseldorf together on March 7th 1999, with Yehudi conducting, he encouraged Daniel to play an encore. Daniel spontaneously chose the Kaddish. Yehudi listened, sitting quietly in the orchestra. It turned out to be their last concert. Five days later Yehudi passed away. 

As I painted this agonisingly beautiful work, I found it difficult not to be overcome with emotion, as my kinetic colours flowed gently away, for ever, with a very slow fade out, to a hall in total silence. We felt that we had created a worthy tribute to our dear friend. Here is the five minute video of my studio-rehearsal, for which I used Daniel's recording with pianist Jacques Ammon. 


In these strange times, we can all find time to pause for five minutes to reflect, to mourn and to praise life. I hope that this slowly changing image will offer you calm and healing or even, when you need, a way to simply let go.


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