The Strad Issue: January 2014
Description: A renowned exponent of Romantic repertoire revives a neglected concerto
Musicians: Tasmin Little (violin) BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Andrew Davis
Composer: Moeran, Delius, Holst, Elgar, Vaughan Williams

The Lark Ascending is the headliner here, but it wisely comes as a treat at the end, when that last high B can fade to nothing. Moeran’s Concerto is also a treat, much deserving of a new recording, and now getting a very good one indeed. It comes from the same poetic spring as so much of Vaughan Williams, Delius and others, with its evocation of landscape (Irish), folk dance and song. Little brings to it the sensitivities she has displayed recently in the music of Delius, moulding its discursive melodic musings and outbreaks of exuberance into great flowing paragraphs, with Andrew Davis in close sympathetic support. The lines twist and turn but never falter: everything has underlying musical pulse and purpose. There is passion and energy here too, which Little provides with élan and unabashed virtuosity.

Delius’s early Légende flows eloquently towards the grand climaxes and on to its delightful final section, with Little scurrying in muted pianissimo semiquavers. There is beautifully soft, delicate playing in Holst’s A Song of the Night, another early work, and the Elgar set is elegant, warm and seductive. The Lark is magical – expressive and weightless. The recorded sound is also excellent, full and clear.

Tim Homfray