"Little in towering form, intellectually and musically" ..... "a monumental achievement" ..... "Little stands out" ..... "she gives a dynamic performance" ..... "Tasmin Little and Sir Andrew Davis out-Elgar their rivals" ..... "a recording that is outstandingly vivid" ..... "she strikes exactly the right balance between power and sentiment" ...... "a superb new recording by Tasmin Little" ..... "she has a triumph" ...... "an exquisitely crafted performance" ....... " Gramophone Disc of the Month " .... an Elgarian must-have .....
The third major recording of this glorious concerto to mark the centenary of its first performance ... For sheer beauty of tone and expressive nostalgia, Tasmin Little and Sir Andrew Davis out-Elgar their rivals. Little also reproduces the version of the last-movement cadenza with harp which Elgar write for the 1916 acoustic recording with Marie Hall. ***** 5 stars. Michael Kennedy The Sunday Telegraph
Little is tender, velvet, winsome, always beguiling, never de trop, with complete mastery of the pianissimo caress - a gift essential for the slow movement's intimacies and the finale's stupendous accompanied cadenza, the concerto's imaginative peak. Elgar cherished an idealised, romantic view of woman and beauty; Little does nothing to disturb it. Nor does Andrew Davis, her conductor, and the Royal National Scottish Orchestra. In keeping with musical fashions in the Edwardian period, she displays a healthy vibrato on her violin and doesn't shun the portamento glide. This isn't the concerto for lean cuisine: the notes need contours, a velvet sheen, a touch of plumpness and pomp. They also need emotional heat: iceberg violinists need not apply. Little couldn't be cold if she tried, she knows just how to make her violin sing, subtly swelling and fading through the solo part's lyrical lines as Elgar penetrates the mysteries and wonder of the feminine soul. Geoff Brown Times
A recording of Elgar's grandiose "symphonic" concerto - 100 years old earlier this month - has been long overdue from Little, who has been playing it around the country and the world for the best part of her career.... Little brings a profoundly idiomatic nostalgia to this secretive, yearning, wistful yet passionate music. The extras make it an Elgarian must-have: a cadenza with a lost harp part transcribed from the composer's 1916 recording ..... Hugh Canning Sunday Times
Tasmin Little has capped them all with an exquisitely crafted performance of gentleness and deep sensitivity that moved me almost to tears. Very ably supported by the SNSO under Andrew Davis and benefiting from what must be surely Chandos's best ever recorded sound on disc with fine balance between soloist and orchestra, especially evident in the cadenza, this is a surefire winner. I note already that Gramophone has chosen it as Disc of the Month in their latest edition. It is not surprising, a truly covetable disc.
Gramophone CD of the Month - November 2010. A sequence of distinguished non-British violinists have recently offered new versions of Elgar’s Violin Concerto ... it is refreshing to have another version, marking the work’s centenary, from a favourite British player. Little stands out in playing a degree more delicately ... ( she ) finds an element of wit in the fast-moving figuration, leading to a more tender treatment of the lyrical contrasting sections...... plays with ample vibrato, bring(ing) authentic portamentos to various phrases, though never excessively. The nub of any performance lies in the long accompanied cadenza in the finale, where depth of meditation is an essential.... a free expressiveness which never reflects the technical problems but suggests improvisation. Little’s playing is masterly, as it is in the brief interlude that Elgar wrote for his masque at the time of the 1911 Durbar in Delhi, The Crown of India. Andrew Davis brings out all the natural swagger in these patriotic themes and is helped not just by virtuoso playing by the RSNO but by recording that is outstandingly vivid even by Chandos’s highest standards.
Edward Greenfield Gramophone
Elgar's Violin Concerto was 100 years old last Wednesday, a milestone marked by ... a superb new recording by Tasmin Little that goes right to the top of the class. ( She ) has played this concerto 70 times in concert and it shows. Partnered by that most understanding of Elgarians, Sir Andrew Davis, and a Royal Scottish National Orchestra playing out of their skins, she strikes exactly the right balance between power and sentiment. By sentiment I mean deep feeling ... the concerto has big moments only a true virtuoso can bring off ... deep emotions ... the product of Elgar's intensely complicated feelings. .... it requires a true musician to bring out every nuance. And Tasmin Little is such an artist. All the understanding perfected by so many live performances is brought to bear to produce a recording that for me sits alongside Nigel Kennedy's first effort and Menuhin's youthful foray. ***** 5 stars. David Mellor The Mail on Sunday
... it is absolutely awesome, making total sense of the piece in a performance that is immaculately structured, full of passion and warmth, with Little in towering form, intellectually and musically; Sir Andrew Davis seamlessly moulding the vast shape of the piece into a coherent entity; the RSNO musicians playing out of their skins, and the whole thing wrapped up in that characteristically big, vibrant Chandos sound. It represents one of those rare moments in music where you can actually sense that everyone involved has pulled out all the stops, is totally committed and convinced, and all parties have piled their resources into a communal project. The recording and performance is a monumental achievement; and the alternative cadenza with harp is absolutely ravishing. Surely a live performance in Scotland, with these forces, is an imperative? Michael Tumulty The Herald
She has waited 20 years before making this recording, and she has a triumph. Playing with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Elgarian Andrew Davis, she gives a dynamic performance, rich in tone and stormy in the first movement, wistful in the second, and again achieving the sad nostalgia for lost love which Elgar brings to the final cadenza of the latest movement. Donna Price Liverpool Daily Post