Tasmin Little performs violin sonatas works by Franck, Fauré and Szymanowski

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COMPOSERS: Faure,Franck,Szymanowski
LABELS: Chandos
ALBUM TITLE: Franck * Fauré * Szymanowski
WORKS: Franck: Violin Sonata; Fauré: Romance; Szymanowski: Violin Sonata; Romance; Notturno e Tarantella
PERFORMER: Tasmin Little (violin), Piers Lane (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10940

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There’s poise and elegance to Piers Lane’s introductory bars in the Franck, matched by the limpid piano sound from Potton Hall. Tasmin Little’s entry follows suit, although this isn’t a performance which wears its heart on its sleeve straight away: real passion is saved for the turbulent Allegro, where Lane’s delivery of the first appearance of the melody is slightly under-projected, but Little tears into it with abandon, and makes lovely contrasts of tone in the quieter passages. That feeling for different moods is also a feature of the ‘Recitativo’, and of the final canon, where the sunny opening turns to something darker in the central section, before a triumphant close.

Fauré’s Romance has a tougher centre than its title might imply, and here Little’s intonation is more vulnerable. She’s back on form for the Szymanowski Sonata, a work which hits the ground running, and takes the emotional world of Franck in more chromatic directions. Perhaps it’s the lack of immediately memorable themes that has kept it on the fringes of the repertoire, but, in a performance alternately as gutsy and subtle as this, it’s completely riveting. The folk-inflected central movement brings some almost Rachmaninovian writing for the piano, which Lane projects superbly, and the finale hardly ever lets up its torrid progress, getting a high-voltage delivery.

That energy overflows into the highly-strung Romance, before the more oriental world of the Notturno, and the crackling virtuosity of the Tarantella – a long way from the calm of the Franck which started the CD.

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Martin Cotton