Tasmin Little and Martin Roscoe play Beethoven violin sonatas

A
a
-
Album title:
Beethoven
Composer(s):
Ludwig van Beethoven
Works:
Complete violin sonatas
Performer:
Martin Roscoe (piano), Tamsin Little (violin)
Label:
Chandos
Catalogue Number:
Chandos CHAN 10888
Performance:
starstarstarstarnostar
Recording:
starstarstarstarstar
4
Reviewer:
BBC Music Magazine
Tasmin Little and Martin Roscoe play Beethoven violin sonatas

It says a great deal for Tasmin Little that she has allowed pianist Martin Roscoe’s name to go first on the booklet cover. Well, these works were all published as Sonatas ‘for Piano and Violin’, and any violinist who approaches them as potential star vehicles is already guilty of a capital offence. I’ve heard, and admired performances in which violin and piano work as one: ‘two minds with but a single thought’. Here though one is very much aware of two distinct personalities, each with plenty to say about this music. There’s even a sense of friendly rivalry at times – and all to the good.

Little’s expressive style is generous and extrovert, Roscoe’s at times more inward looking – though the first movement of the Kreutzer Sonata comes across as an emotional switchback ride for both players. That’s one of the highlights of the set for me, but I’m also impressed by the way Little and Roscoe make the two following movements sound more than add-ons to that terrific opening drama. The tension is well contained in the more Classical early sonatas. Even better is the sense that the C minor Sonata, Op. 30 No. 2, is on the point of bursting out of that formal container. I’m not quite so convinced by the last Sonata, Op. 96, where Beethoven already seems on the threshold of his ‘late’ manner. Is Little’s heart in particular still with the early Classical and middle-period ‘Promethean’ Beethoven? This is an impressive achievement overall though, and beautifully recorded.

Stephen Johnson

Atsushi Sakai plays Forqueray
Atsushi Sakai plays Forqueray
previous review Article
Thomas Albertus Irnberger and Michael Korstick play Beethoven
Thomas Albertus Irnberger and Michael Korstick play Beethoven
next review Article
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here