Tasmin Little presents a solid program of late-Romantic violin works. As always, her performances let the emotional content of this music blossom forth in beauty. Little has done other outstanding recordings of this repertoire (her Brahms album springs to mind). She seems to have a natural affinity of the late-Romantic style.
Oh – and all the music on this release happened to be written by women. While that may provide the program’s theme, in my opinion, it’s not that relevant. These works are all well-crafted, displaying high degrees of creativity and imagination.
Amy Beach’s 1896 Violin Sonata in A minor, Op. 34 is a large-scale work. Beach masterfully handles her resources and delivers beautifully-turned melodies one after the other. Little is especially effective in the quiet passages, playing with poignant delicacy.
The Violin Sonata, Op. 7 by Dame Ethel Smyth has a darker character to it. Written in 1887, it more closely resembles the style of Brahms and Schumann. Little makes this work her own, brushing aside the considerable technical challenges to get to the heart of the music. I’ve heard other recordings of this work. I think Little’s is the best.
Clara Schumann’s Drei Romanzen, Op. 22 was written for the violinist Joseph Joachim. The scope of these romances is modest. Little’s sympathetic performances make them absolutely charming.
Tasmin Little Plays Clara Schumann, Amy Beach, and Ethel Smyth
Tasmin Little, violin; John Lenehan, piano