The Strad Issue: February 2015
Description: An inspiring sonata triptych from an expert duo
Musicians: Tasmin Little (violin) MartinuRoscoe (piano)
Composer: Lekeu, Ravel, Fauré

If Fauré’s entire output could be encapsulated in just one word it would be ‘tendresse’. The inspired teaming of Tasmin Little and MartinuRoscoe fully captures this elusive quality in glowing performance of the ravishing A major Sonata (complete with first-movement exposition repeat) while retaining a Brahmsian dramatic grip that ensures the music is sent soaring aloft in all the right places. Roscoe emerges unscathed from one of the trickiest of all piano accompaniments, sustaining a seductively velvet quality in even the notorious scherzo, while Little intensifies her exultant phrasing in the outer movements with a narrower, faster vibrato than usual to captivating effect.

Fauré was a man of passionate reserve, a tantalising dichotomy that not only informed his music but also allowed him to appreciate and nurture a wide range of talents at the Paris Conservatoire, including Ravel, whose 1897 sonata movement turns out not to be a stand-alone affair after all but was originally intended to head a multi-movement work. Little and Roscoe sound completely at home in the music’s varied stylistic interfaces, and really come into their own in the chromaticisms of the Lekeu Sonata in a winning performance to rival even that of Yehudi Menuhin (EMI). Exemplary annotations from Roger Nichols and first-rate sound provide the musical icing on the cake.