2012 Reviews
CLASSICAL REVIEW: Tasmin Little’s Delius,
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / John Wilson

Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, November 17th 2012

Tasmin Little has made the Delius Violin Concerto something of a calling card. However, it was good to hear this piece in the dry, receptive acoustic of Philharmonic Hall rather than her previous performance of the work with this orchestra, which was at their summer Prom in the cavernously inexact acoustic of the Royal Albert Hall in London.

This was a rhapsodic performance, a delightful, gentle piece with delicate playing from both soloist and orchestra. There was an evident chemistry between both parties and, at last, the audience seems to be learning its lesson about silence.

The piece faded away and there must have been about 20 seconds at the end of beautiful repose, without someone rushing in to applaud.

November 22nd 2012, Liverpool Daily Post, Glyn Mon Hughes
Tasmin Little with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Ainars Rubikis
Cheltenham Town Hall
, October 25th 2012

Anyone who has visited Pörtschach on Austria’s Wörthersee can not fail to be entranced by the atmosphere of the place and its surroundings. Even Brahms was sufficiently inspired by the area to pen one of his sunniest works – his Violin Concerto – and this relaxed feeling predominated in this performance which positively radiated warmth and lyricism. Ainars Rubikis set the tone with a gentle dreamy opening interrupted by rhythmic outbursts, but the drama did not really start until Tasmin Little’s triumphal entry. Eventually the tension melted away to by replaced by exquisite passages of flowing music in which the violin sang forth sweetly; even in the more energetic ones there was little sense of foreboding. Tasmin played Joachim’s extended cadenza at the end of the first movement, and despite the demands it makes on the soloist this was a relaxed, musical interpretation rather than an excuse for virtuosic display.

The Adagio opened serenely with some immaculate playing from the woodwind section including oboist Edward Kay; the conductor was clearly at pains to obtain the delicate balance this movement requires. When the violin entered, the orchestral contribution was nicely controlled offering support rather than competition, but the temperature rose in the gypsy-like atmosphere in the finale. Here soloist and orchestra tossed melodies at each other in a good-humoured manner, and the interaction between the two was sheer delight. Tasmin Little carried off her prestissimo passages without turning a hair and the whole movement expressed a sense of jollity and fun. As soloist, conductor and orchestra took their bow, they gave the impression that they had enjoyed playing the work, and their enthusiasm was certainly reflected in the audience’s reaction.

October 27th 2012, Seen and Heard International, Roger Jones
Tasmin Little (violin) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko
Royal Albert Hall, 23rd August 2012

Tasmin Little has made a speciality of Delius, as her recordings of the Violin Concerto, which she played in this Prom, the Double Concerto and the violin sonatas might suggest. It is music that can do with a little help, as the composer himself is too often dismissed as slight and indulgent, a sensualist with scant grasp of larger forms. Should you agree, and be in the same room as Tasmin Little, don't say so out loud. In this concert she was as persuasive as ever. She performed the opening section with an easy fluency and a sense of both conversational exposition and firm musical direction. Although occasionally overwhelmed by the brass, her playing had clarity and beautiful articulation. It also had a sense of something intimate and personal: Little showed an ability to fill this large hall with what seemed like private musical thoughts.

Later she gave an eloquent, understated moto perpetuo commentary over stately dances in the orchestra, before finally dying away, primus inter pares among the wind solos with which the work winds down.

Brass peccadillos aside, she was ably abetted by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko, in a performance that should have convinced some of those listening to seek it out again.

Tim Homfrey, Strad Magazine
Tasmin Little at Prom 54: Delius Violin Concerto
Vasily Petrenko, Tasmin Little and the Liverpool Philharmonic
23rd August 2012

"Petrenko is emerging as a very accomplished stylist and the sensitivity and sureness with which he entered Frederick Delius’ very particular sound world with the next piece – the Violin Concerto – was testament to his wonderfully adaptive musicianship. Taking his hand, metaphorically speaking, on this “ramble” through the paradise garden was a great advocate and persuader on behalf of the piece – Tasmin Little.

She concentrated our listening and engaged our senses adjusting us to the work’s transient nature and coaxing us through the rhapsodic longueurs (and there are a few) to its ravishing heart. The slow centre of it is easy to love and Little plainly does. Her sweet songfulness and flawless intonation drew us in. There was real artistry at work here on Delius’ behalf."


Edward Seckerson, Reviews, Blogs, Podcasts
24 August 2012

"...Before we could reach the showpiece symphony however Tasmin Little joined the orchestra for Delius’ Violin Concerto. I’ve not heard Little before and I now regret the missed opportunities to do so – from the first moment she played with a clean, clear tone that cut above the orchestra – credit to Delius’ sensitive scoring too.

The near continuous part for violin had moments of exciting, if reserved, virtuosity and woodwind in particular blended fabulously in their delicate, glittering melodic responses which showed off huge variations of colour, sounding even synthesised at particular, fascinating points.

This piece, in its delicate style and scoring and more traditional language, was a good foil to a programme that may have been a little too rich had it included another piece more similar to the knotty language and dense orchestral writing of Maxwell Davies and Shostakovich."

Arthur Keegan-Bole, One Stop Arts
24 August 2012
Prom 20: Wallace & Gromit's Musical Marvels!
29th July 2012

Finally... the moment came for Gromit's concerto. One problem: an accomplished violinist (and, apparently, owner of a Stradivarius, dismissed as "just a piece of wood"), Gromit knew only how to write for his own instrument, and up the maestromatic's chute came his emergency composition, the Double Concerto for Violin and Dog. But wait – where would they find a soloist at such short notice?! Cue some nervous tea-sipping by Collon and a frantic phone call (yes, the phone was part of the Maestromatic) to none other than Tasmin Little, who was still in the building. Out she came, dressed in a cheeky red number, to take to the stage once more. What happened next was sheer genius: whilst Tasmin was on stage, Gromit was on screen, and together the pair, plus orchestra, performed the quirky, yet tuneful concerto.

Julia Savage - Bachtrack review
1st August 2012

Tasmin Little and Martin Roscoe, Concord College, Acton Burnell *****
4th August 2012

Forget Olympic gold – in its way this Church Stretton Arts Festival final was just as exciting as any of the sporty stuff currently dominating our waking hours.

It certainly began and ended in barnstorming fashion, with Brahms’s F-A-E Scherzo an attention-grabbing opener bristling with gypsy energy and vibrant tone; and Szymanowski’s Tarantella provided a thrilling finisher that swept along in an almost hysterical whirlwind of sound and pounding rhythms.

Enjoyable as these two showstoppers were, the main items on either side of the interval were much more rewarding. Tasmin Little has championed Delius’s music for many years, so the inclusion of his early Sonata in B minor was of particular interest.

Although not a great work – it indulges in too much youthful posturing (the last few bars of the opening Allegro are pure corn-flavoured rhetoric) and overuses some of his turns of phrase – there is a definite charm in its artlessness and heart-on-sleeve directness. Little succumbed without shame to the sentimentality of the plantation-song Andante, and in the finale matched Martin Roscoe’s ebullient handling of the showy piano part with soaring melodic thrusts and judicious use of portamento.

The contrast between this apprentice composition and César Franck’s Sonata in A major could not have been greater. Here it was Roscoe who grabbed the attention, not only for his impeccably controlled account of the fiendishly difficult (ask any student pianist) second movement, but also for the sensitivity of his support throughout.

Little, too, explored a wide-ranging tonal palette, tenderly reflective, even subdued in the first movement, yet rich and burnished in the sul G phrases of the second, and bringing to the finale a wonderfully shaped sense of growth and life-affirming celebration. Marvellous.

David Hart , Birmingham Post
10 August 2012
Tasmin Little at Prom 20: Wallace & Gromit's Musical Marvels
29th July 2012

"In the end, though, an accident with Wallace's pianomatic meant the magnum opus went up in flames. Luckily, Gromit (aka Poochini) was to hand, penning at breakneck speed his Double Concerto for Violin and Dog in the nick of time. Tasmin Little, after a beautiful performance of Vittorio Monti's Csárdás, gamely returned to help out with the solo part, duetting with Gromit over the video link."

Guy Dammann, The Guardian
30 July 2012

"Still, the musical interludes leading up to the main event — which included John Adams, Tasmin Little playing a delicious violin showpiece, and Stravinsky’s Infernal Dance — were all played with terrific verve. "

Ivan Hewett , The Telegraph
30 July 2012
Tasmin Little plays Korngold Violin Concerto in Greensboro, North Carolina
at the Eastern Music Festival, 21 July 2012

Our soloist in the Korngold was British violinist, Tasmin Little, who made international news in 2008 when she pioneered a project entitled “The Naked Violin,” whereby she offered a free download from her website of her new CD of works for unaccompanied (“naked”) violin with introductions and explanations. She has since toured the world in a successful effort to make music and the violin more universally appealing.

And appealing she was in the Korngold! With an opulent, wide but rapid vibrato, perfectly suited to the lush lines of the first movement, and a purity of tone and intonation in the top register of her E-string, she seduced her audience and dazzled it with virtuosity. Marked by passages of descending seconds, resolving downwards in a floating spiral, the second movement revealed Korngold the orchestrator in a lovely nocturnal passage populated by sighing and whispering woodwinds. The third movement is lively and fast, a technical challenge for the violinist and magic to the audience’s ear. A lovely lyrical passage ends with a loud horn call straight from Captain Blood! The instantaneous standing ovation replete with shouts and cheers must have been gratifying to the soloist who rewarded the warm applause with a touching three and four-part version of “Danny Boy.”

Peter Perret, CVNC - ONLINE Arts Journal for North Carolina
21 July 2012
Tasmin Little and Martin Roscoe - Keswick Music Society
22nd April 2012

A varied programme for violin and piano presented by Keswick Music Society at the Theatre by the Lake featured Tasmin Little, violin, and Martin Roscoe, piano. The evening took us on several musical journeys, firstly from 1740 (Tartini) through to 1915 (Szymanowski). Also from classical form through nationalist story-telling (Smetana) and Edwardian romanticism (Elgar) to Szymanowski 's atmospheric impressionism.

It was a complete partnership between two first-rate musicians.... The sell-out audience of 400 at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake were spectacularly attentive for Tartini’s “Devil’s Trill” sonata though the coughers were rather in evidence for the less-familiar Schubert Duo.

As well as stunning virtuosity in this varied programme, Tasmin Little gave us a complex and rewarding interpretation of the Schubert Duo in A major D. 574 (Op 162), the music moving between traditional sonata form counterpoint and the Lieder style, which Schubert made his own.

Tasmin Little played Bedřic Smetana’s two duos “From my homeland” from memory: it’s clearly a piece she enjoys and feels sympathy for. Her performance caught the romantic yearning for the folk culture suppressed under the Hapsburg regime which Bedřic Smetana, along with Antonín Dvořák, was so keen to preserve and celebrate. I’m sure they would have been pleased with this evening’s performance.

Written on John HikerBiker blog
22 April 2012
Tasmin Little with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Sir Andrew Davis
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Elgar Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61
4th February 2012

ELGAR'S Violin Concerto is a monument, a vast musical structure. But it is also a monster. It requires a soloist who is a master tactician, a strategist of infinite intellectual acuity, a supreme virtuoso (of course) and one who has the ability to establish and sustain the immense scale of its architecture while allowing full scope for the endless subtlety and interplay of its intimate elements.

It also requires a conductor and soloist who speak as one, and an orchestra willing to support their interpretation. And on Saturday night that's precisely what the Elgar concerto received from violinist Tasmin Little, with conductor Sir Andrew Davis at his most expansive and the RSNO in golden form.

The performance was one of the glories of the season, with Tasmin Little's playing fuelled by her unshakeable confidence and maturity. Her playing communicated her certainty in what she was doing, which then allowed her intoxicating blend of power, passion, poetry and drop-dead beautiful playing to conjure a magic that just let the music flow. The flexible, responsive direction by Davis and the expressive playing of RSNO formed the rock on which this magnificent monster stood proud.

Michael Tumelty, Herald Scotland
06 January 2012