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Szymanowski & Karlowicz: Violin Concertos

Szymanowski & Karlowicz: Violin Concertos


Karlowicz:

Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 8

Szymanowski:

Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35

Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 61


This SACD recording brings together some of Chandos’ greatest artists in a spellbinding programme.

It follows performances that The Guardian described as ‘a thrilling show of ferocity and feistiness’, given by the same forces in January at the Barbican. After widely acclaimed recordings of Walton’s and Lutosławski’s violin concertos, Tasmin Little again joins the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner, in intensely expressive interpretations of the concertos by the Polish composers Karłowicz and Szymanowski.

All were written within the space of a generation (1902, 1916, and 1933), and yet they belong to quite different worlds. One was composed at a time of national occupation, another in the throes of wartime, and yet another at a time of national renewal. The first inhabits the lyrical tradition developed by Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky, the second escapes towards Debussy and the exoticism of Mediterranean influences, while the third is imbued with the folk culture of the Tatra Mountains.

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Tasmin Little plays Franck, Szymanowski, and Fauré

Tasmin Little plays Franck, Szymanowski, and Fauré


Fauré:

Romance in B flat major for violin & piano, Op. 28

Franck, C:

Violin Sonata in A major

Szymanowski:

Violin Sonata in D minor, Op. 9

Romance in D major, Op. 23

Nocturne & Tarantella, Op. 28


Tasmin Little (violin) & Piers Lane (piano)

The indefatigable duo of Tasmin Little and Piers Lane returns with a unique recorded programme at the centre of which stand the violin sonatas of Szymanowski and Franck.

Their joined expert musicianship reveals the intimacy and magic of these passionate, lateromantic works. The album encompasses the folk like yet technically demanding Romance, Violin Sonata, and Notturno e Tarantella by Szymanowski, here more inspired by the German and French romantic tradition than by his native Polish one, as well as Franck’s highly original Violin Sonata and Fauré’s Romance.

It follows a much-lauded set of Schubert’s complete works for violin and piano (Album of the Week in the Mail on Sunday), and also marks the eightieth anniversary of Szymanowski’s death. Tasmin Little will continue her tribute to the composer with a concerto album this autumn and with a series of concerts of his music, which will take her around the world.

“Warmth, tonal bloom, agility and a feeling of oneness with the instrument that spins the illusion that for the duration [Little] is the violin. These are wholesome, red-blooded performances, direct and deeply satisfying, with no lack of imagination” Gramophone Magazine, May 2017

“Szymanowski’s Sonata Op 9 (1904), expansive and romantic with some of the grandeur of Franck’s sonata, has energy and poetry. The second movement, with its yearning melody and mawkish pizzicato interventions, beguiles and charms. Little is one of the most open-hearted players around, with a watertight virtuosity to match. These are direct and generous performances to savour.” The Guardian, 23rd April 2017 ****

“Such dazzlingly assured, unflinchingly communicative music-making, this, vividly captured by the microphones.” Classical Ear, May 2017 *****

“In a performance alternately as gutsy and subtle as this, [the Szymanowski is] completely riveting. The folk-inflected central movement brings some almost Rachmaninovian writing for the piano, which Lane projects superbly, and [the] energy overflows into the highly-strung Romance, before the more oriental world of the Notturno and the crackling virtuosity of the Tarantella – a long way from the calm of the Franck which started the CD” BBC Music Magazine, June 2017 ****

“Fauré’s Romance is rarely recorded on its own, usually getting tucked into a corner of complete cycles of the composer’s music for violin and piano. A charming piece in the usual song form, it has a lyrical main theme and a rather agitated contrasting central section. Little and Lane play it as beautifully as they can, the violinist employing a touch of portamento, and it makes a pleasant bridge to the sterner stuff of Szymanowski’s Sonata.” classicalsource.com, May 2017 ****

“I greatly enjoyed this recital and hope that this team will give us more, such as, for example, the Fauré sonatas (she has already recorded the first, with Martin Roscoe), and Szymanowski’s Mythes, his finest work for this combination.” MusicWeb International, 30th May 2017

“A powerful, strongly performed recital from an outstanding duo.” The Strad, July 2017

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A Violin for All Seasons

A Violin for All Seasons


Panufnik, R:

Four World Seasons

premiere recording

Vivaldi:

The Four Seasons


Encapsulating the voluptuous sound of the BBC SO’s strings, Tasmin Little is both the soloist and conductor in this unique coupling: Vivaldi’s ever-popular ‘Four Seasons’ meets Roxanna Panufnik’s Four World Seasons, the premiere recording of a set of highly inspirational pieces.

As a complete cycle, ‘The Four Seasons’ offers a set of vivid tableaux, imaginative, enticing, and wonderfully contrasted, with ample chance for the violin soloist to display technique, sensitivity, and colour. These are qualities that the British composer Roxanna Panufnik also sought for her own Seasons tribute, Four World Seasons, written for the violinist. Three of the pieces are dedicated to her, while the fourth, ‘Autumn in Albania’, is dedicated to the memory of Panufnik’s father, the Polish composer Sir Andrzej Panufnik, who, his daughter says, was born, loved, and died in autumn.

“The addition of Roxanna Panufnik’s ‘World Seasons’ adds to the attraction of this modern-instrument recording of Vivaldi.” MusicWeb International, 1st November 2016

“Although Tamsin Little isn’t a Baroque specialist there is some influence from historically informed performance: rubato is used discreetly, and vibrato, although more present than might be expected from an ‘authentic’ performance, is subtly varied…these are engaging performances, captured in warm but detailed sound” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 ****

“These are modern-instrument performances of Vivaldi with a big symphonic string section. And if you haven’t already run screaming for your Fabio Biondi or La Serenissima sets, you’re going to enjoy this disc a lot...No Kennedy-like deconstruction here: Little simply responds to the music with an open-eyed freshness and fantasy…she is lively and conversational, and conveys a vivid sense of character to her colleagues” Gramophone Magazine, December 2016

“The two Seasons form a most attractive contrast and reflect well on all concerned.” MusicWeb International, 16th January 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2016

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British Violin Sonatas, Vol. 2

British Violin Sonatas, Vol. 2


Bliss:

Sonata for Piano and Violin

Bridge:

Violin Sonata in E flat, H. 39

Ireland:

Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor

Lloyd Webber, W:

The Gardens at Eastwell

Premiere recording

Vaughan Williams:

Romance & Pastorale for violin & piano


Tasmin Little (violin) & Piers Lane (piano)

Volume 2 of British Violin Sonatas, recorded at Potton Hall with Tasmin Little and Piers Lane, has finally arrived!

The atmosphere established by this original collection is best described by the violinist herself: ‘Now that the disc is complete, the shape of it feels very right and I love the combination of these works – opening with exuberance, and continuing with drama, wistful lines, folk elements, and romance. I always take into account the key structure when planning a disc of varied works, and the way that I have planned this disc gives me one of my favourite moments: the ‘Pastorale’ by Vaughan Williams dies away in the key of E minor, after which our disc segues seamlessly into the E minor introduction to William Lloyd Webber’s piece, which in its turn blossoms into E major as the violin line makes its entrance.

It is a beautiful transition which I hope you will enjoy as much as I do. Both Piers and I would like to dedicate our recording of this lovely little gem by William Lloyd Webber [a premiere recording] to our great friend Jan Robinson.’

“These are splendid, sensitive, insightful interpretations by two great advocates of British music. I hope Vol. 3 is forthcoming!” Gramophone Magazine, June 2016

“A classy disc” MusicWeb International, 25th May 2016

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Beethoven: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-10 (Complete)

Beethoven: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-10 (Complete)


Tasmin Little (violin) & Martin Roscoe (piano)

After a ‘sublime’ (BBC Music) complete set of Schubert’s violin sonatas with Piers Lane [CHAN10850(2)], Tasmin Little joins Martin Roscoe in this recording of the complete violin sonatas by Beethoven.

In all, Beethoven wrote ten sonatas for piano and violin, and seems not to have entertained ideas for other works in this genre. All but one may be regarded as early works: only Op. 96, in G major, which was composed almost a decade after the last of the other nine, does not fall into this category. As a group, then, the violin sonatas do not offer a conspectus of Beethoven’s stylistic development such as we find in the string quartets, piano sonatas, symphonies, and even cello sonatas. But each work is a masterpiece in its own right, original, full of vitality, idiomatic for both the pianist and violinist who are equal-ranking participants in the ensemble, and executed with consummate compositional skill.

“Roscoe and Little seem inspired by the greatness and variety of this music. Neither artist has done anything finer on disc.” Sunday Times, 28th February 2016

“[Little and Roscoe] come across as being very attuned to one another, taking a notably cajoling approach ot the first movement of Op 30 No 3…the particular brand of fantasy in the Kreutzer suits Little and Roscoe particularly well and from its Bachian solo-violin opening onwards there's a real fire to the first movement” Gramophone Magazine, March 2016

“one is very much aware of two distinct personalities, each with plenty to say about this music. There's even a sense of friendly rivalry - and all to the good. Little's expressive style is generous and extrovert, Roscoe's at times more inward looking…this is an impressive achievement, and beautifully recorded.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2016 ****

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Tasmin Little plays British Violin Concertos

Tasmin Little plays British Violin Concertos


Coleridge-Taylor:

Violin Concerto in G minor Op. 80

Delius:

Suite for Violin & Orchestra

Wood, Haydn:

Violin Concerto in A minor


Following on from the acclaimed Elgar and Moeran concertos, Tasmin Little and Sir Andrew Davis continue their special affinity for British music with this exciting new recording featuring the music of Coleridge-Taylor, Wood, and Delius.

Born in England of an English mother and a Sierra Leonean father, Coleridge-Taylor was much revered as a composer, dubbed ‘the black Mahler’ in the US in his later years. He was commissioned to write a violin concerto in 1910 for the Norfolk Festival in Connecticut and responded with a work based on several spirituals. After submitting it, he decided to completely rewrite it, concluding that the new one was ‘ten thousand times better than the other’. The premiere in 1912 – delayed because scores had gone astray – met with critical acclaim. The composer died a few months later. Like his predecessor Coleridge-Taylor, Haydn Wood studied violin at the Royal College of Music and composition with Sir Charles Stanford. This concerto is his only surviving one for violin. The high-romantic expression of the first movement is followed by a virtually continuous stream of lyrical melody in the second, and a full-blooded finale that at the same time is light and lively.

This album also features a Suite of four short character pieces by Delius, in the spirit of the Lyric Pieces for piano by his friend and mentor Edvard Grieg.

“Besides the stellar quality of Little's playing (as ever, warmly engaging and technically bombproof), Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Philharmonic provide accompaniments in a special class. The slow movements of Wood's Concerto opens with a long theme for the principal horn, delivered here with spellbinding loveliness” BBC Music Magazine, February 2016 *****

“[The Delius is] an odd mix of movements, three looking forward to the music that would come a few years later while the fourth seems to have strayed in from from some forgotten work by Mendelssohn or Max Bruch. Little pays it just as much careful attention as the other two equally unfamiliar works on her disc.” The Guardian, 22nd October 2015 ***

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Schubert Chamber Works: Tasmin Little

Schubert Chamber Works: Tasmin Little


Schubert:

Fantasie in C major for violin and piano, D934

Tasmin Little (violin)

Sonata (Sonatina) for violin & piano in D major, D384 (Op. posth. 137 No. 1)

Tasmin Little (violin)

Sonata (Sonatina) for violin & piano in A minor, D385 (Op. posth. 137 No. 2)

Tasmin Little (violin)

Sonatina (Sonatina) in G minor, D408 (Op. posth. 137 No. 3)

Tasmin Little (violin)

Grand Duo for Violin and Piano in A Major, D574

Tasmin Little (violin)

Notturno in E flat major for piano trio, D897 (Op. post.148)

Tasmin Little (violin), Tim Hugh (cello)

Sonata in A minor 'Arpeggione', D821

Tim Hugh (cello)


Piers Lane (piano)

The electrifying partnership of Tasmin Little and Piers Lane returns in this unique double-album featuring the complete works by Schubert for violin and piano, combined with the ‘Arpeggione’ Sonata and Adagio in E flat for piano trio, an unusual collection of highly emotional masterpieces. Little and Lane have enjoyed a long-standing collaboration both on stage and in recordings. They are joined by the cellist Tim Hugh, ‘a musician with a compelling insight into the creative urge behind the notes’ (The Times).

Schubert himself was a highly competent pianist and violinist, and his first pieces for violin and piano, composed when he was nineteen, have always been regarded as proper sonatas, although published as ‘sonatinas’ by Diabelli, perhaps because of their relative brevity.

There is little new to say about the monumental ‘Arpeggione’; but Schubert’s works for violin and piano are a treasured preparation for the immediacy found in both exuberant and anguished moments of this Sonata.

The Rondeau brillant, Fantasie, and Adagio are later pieces, making use of a valuable resource which was not a major ingredient in the early works: virtuosity. Gramophone has already praised the ‘complete understanding and spontaneity’ of the artists, who ‘bring moments of true musical virtuosity’ to their first album (CHAN10749).

“Exuberance is the keyword here, and that is precisely what Tasmin Little and Piers Lane bring to them in delightfully positive performances, bristling with vigour and with tenderness and tonal subtlety that make the music spring to life.” The Telegraph, 25th April 2015 ****

“[Little focuses] on the work's outspoken brilliance, with Lane always as a highly reactive partner” Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

“many of his works can be counted as exercises...All the pieces on the first of these two discs can be counted as that...Tasmin Little and Piers Lane play them immaculately, with all the care that they award masterpieces...The last item is a sublime slow movement for a trio, superbly played and worth all the other things put together.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2015 ****

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Walton: Symphony No. 1 & Violin Concerto

Walton: Symphony No. 1 & Violin Concerto


Walton:

Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor

Violin Concerto

Tasmin Little (violin)


Edward Gardner, a Chandos exclusive artist, conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in two great masterpieces byWilliam Walton, his Violin Concerto and the Symphony No. 1.

Walton burst onto the British musical scene in his twenties, the success of works such as Façade, the Viola Concerto, and Belshazzar’s Feast establishing him in both the avant-garde and the mainstream of British composers. The obvious next step for Walton was to compose a symphony and he was duly commissioned to do so by Sir Hamilton Harty in 1932. The first complete performance of his Symphony No. 1, in 1935, was a triumph, immediately gaining the work an honoured place in British music which it has never lost. It is a highly virtuosic work with a remarkable expressive range, in turns powerful and broad, malicious, melancholic, and majestic.

The Violin Concerto was written in 1938 in response to a commission from Jascha Heifetz. The solo part reflects not only the legendary virtuosity for which Heifetz was famous, but also the sweetness and purity of his playing of long lyrical lines. In this recording the soloist is Tasmin Little whose acclaimed recordings of concertos by Britten, Elgar, Delius, and Moeran on Chandos have already established her as one of the foremost interpreters of British music for the violin.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“Gardner brings out all the harmonic tension in the music...in a reading which never loses momentum, even when Gardner reins back the pace to capture the aching passion of the slower episodes. There’s explosive energy a-plenty and no lack of dynamism...This is a compelling coupling of exceptionally fine Walton performances...Both these performances now become the modern benchmark for the respective works.” MusicWeb International, 16th May 2014

“Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra profile the symphony’s turbulent syncopations, brassy dissonances and expressionist brilliance – a truly exhilarating performance. In the concerto, Little finds the nexus between sultry lyricism and rapturous virtuosity.” Financial Times, 17th May 2014 *****

“Little's way with the virtuoso passages is a notch less headlong than [on her earlier recording], allowing the ear to savour her phenomenal accuracy, yet with no loss of fire...Gardner and the BBC SO provide an accompaniment whose range of detail..is never driven too hard...a masterclass in how to generate formidable dramatic voltage while keeping the music's eruptive energy on a tight rein.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 *****

“Gardner’s dynamic, pulsing rhythms and strong grip of the expansive structure of the first movement [of the Symphony] are particularly remarkable...Little offers a mature, deeply felt and brilliantly played account of a work she has championed more than any other contemporary violinist.” Sunday Times, 25th May 2014

“Springy rhythms, firm accents and astute observation of the typically Walton blend of rich but translucent textures and timbres contribute to the thoroughly fresh impetus in this performance of [Walton's] First Symphony...To the Violin Concerto...Little brings a mellifluous glow and a capricious spirit.” The Telegraph, 12th June 2014 ****

“Gardner presides over blisteringly eloquent and splendidly unbuttoned accounts of both these Walton masterworks...Heaps to savour and cherish, in sum; certainly, seasoned Waltonians will have a ball. With magnificent truthful sound and judicious balance throughout, this terrific coupling should be snapped up without delay.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2014

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GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - July 2014

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Disc of the month - June 2014

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Tasmin Little: The Lark Ascending

Tasmin Little: The Lark Ascending


Delius:

Legende

Elgar:

Chanson de Nuit, Op. 15 No. 1

Salut d'amour, Op. 12

Chanson de Matin, Op. 15 No. 2

Holst:

A Song of the Night, Op. 19 No. 1

Moeran:

Violin Concerto

Vaughan Williams:

The Lark Ascending


In this release, playing works by Vaughan Williams, Moeran, Delius, and Holst, Tasmin Little once again demonstrates her unique affinity with some of the best loved British composers of the twentieth century. She is joined by Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Philharmonic. Little’s previous recordings of British music on Chandos have been acclaimed, Gramophone writing of her performance of Elgar’s Violin Concerto: ‘For sheer beauty of tone and expressive nostalgia, Tasmin Little and Sir Andrew Davis out-Elgar their rivals.’ E.J. Moeran composed his Violin Concerto during visits to Ireland, and it strongly reflects his love of the landscape in County Kerry. The Lark Ascending, Ralph Vaughan Williams’s much-loved romance for violin and orchestra, has long been considered a pièce de resistance for Tasmin Little, one that she is often called on to perform in concert. This disc also features three works by Elgar, all heard in arrangements by Roger Turner: Chanson de matin of 1899, its companion piece, Chanson de nuit, which features a dark-coloured main melody appropriate to its title, and Salut d’amour, one of the early works that made the composer’s name.

“Little plays [Song of the Night] with verve and panache but her most wide-ranging interpretation is reserved for the most substantial work on this disc, Moeran's magnificent and entirely personal Violin Concerto...evoked with conviction by Little's flair and clarity...A sumptuous offering all round!” Gramophone Magazine, January 2014

“Little's stellar playing [is] brimming with gorgeous and glitz-free tone, plus a lovely range of light and shade...Little's spacious and serene way with The Lark Ascending is both beautiful, and beautifully unfussy. State-of-the-art sensitivity and support come from Andrew Davis and the BBC Philharmonic” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 *****

“This is an exceptionally fine disc, recorded in excellent sound by the Chandos engineers. Tasmin Little here gives us, surely, the finest available recording of the Moeran concerto. There are so many recordings of The Lark Ascending that it’s a brave man who would say this version is the best in the catalogue: I’m going to be brave.” MusicWeb International, 30th January 2014

“Little brings her customary charm and delicacy to these Elgarian bonbons, here arranged for violin and orchestra and accompanied by Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Philharmonic.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, May 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - February 2014

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Britten: Violin Concerto & Piano Concerto

Britten: Violin Concerto & Piano Concerto


Britten:

Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 15

Tasmin Little (violin)

Piano Concerto, Op. 13

1945 version as well as original third movement, ‘Recitative and Aria’

Howard Shelley (piano)


The prolific nature of Benjamin Britten’s operatic and vocal output makes it is all too easy to forget that prior to the phenomenal success of Peter Grimes in 1945, he was primarily known as a composer of vividly orchestrated instrumental music. Tying in with the 100-year anniversary in 2013 of the composer’s birth, we here present two such works, performed by the BBC Philharmonic under Edward Gardner. Tasmin Little and Howard Shelley are the soloists in the Violin Concerto and Piano Concerto, respectively.

These concertos reflect two very different sides to the composer’s character. The Violin Concerto, which Britten completed in 1939, is essentially tragic and weighty in tone, perhaps reflecting his growing concern with the escalation of war-related hostilities. On the other hand, the Piano Concerto, written the previous year, is generally lighter and brighter, more transparent and simpler in style.

On this disc we have recorded the Piano Concerto in Britten’s familiar revision of 1945, but we also include the original third movement, ‘Recitative and Aria’, which Britten replaced with a new and extended movement entitled ‘Impromptu’. Howard Shelley writes of the decision Britten made to revise the concerto: ‘Why he found it necessary to replace the slow movement, I cannot quite understand – as far as I am concerned both options are masterpieces, and with this in mind we have also recorded the original version, which is fantastical and fabulous, jazzy and endlessly dramatic.’

The Violin Concerto was the first composition Britten completed after arriving in the US in 1939. Our soloist, Tasmin Little, writes of the work: ‘One of the miracles of the piece is the way that the structure is conceived as an ongoing journey. Britten does not conform to the usual pattern of the classical concerto... rather the shape of the work emerges organically as each thought leads invariably to the next. A favourite moment of mine is near the end of the first movement where the violins play the opening melody and I weave in and around them with delicate pizzicato.’

“A rapturous disc” Financial Times, 18th May 2013

“This is a desirable Chandos release of two marvellous Britten concertos that deserve to be far better known. The playing from soloists Shelley and Little is exemplary. They are accompanied by the outstanding BBC Philharmonic under Edward Gardner’s sensitively controlled baton.” MusicWeb International, 20th May 2013

“Little’s interpretation strikes me as one of the finest committed to disc...Even though her partnership with Gardner is new in the work, their dramatic and emotional conception is unified — and particularly arresting in the sizzling central movement’s vivace” Sunday Times, 26th May 2013

“Shelley and Edward Gardner create something more mercurial [than Britten's own reading], Gardner conjuring that lithe, high-tension drama he has so successfully achieved with Britten's stage works...We also have a very special reading of the Violin Concerto...Little and Gardner plumb its emotional heart in a performance of great passion and spontaneity.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2013 ****

“Gardner's BBC Phil leads the rough-and-tumble with its sharp-edged wind and brusque brass, and the exuberant Howard Shelley matches then every inch of the way...Little has fewer emotionally warm sounds at her disposal than she does energy and commitment...another strong Britten release from Chandos.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2013

“Gardner starts Britten’s Piano Concerto with amazing ferocity and drive...Shelley relishes the fast tempo when he makes his entrance...white-hot playing from the BBC Philharmonic and close-up, widescreen Chandos sound.” The Arts Desk, 20th July 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - May 2013

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