Tamsin Little and the BBC Philharmonic play Coleridge-Taylor, Delius and H Wood

'Tamsin Little's latest excursion into the lesser-known regions of English music has come up with material of genuine appeal'

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COMPOSERS: Coleridge-Taylor,Delius,H Wood
LABELS: Chandos
ALBUM TITLE: Coleridge-Taylor, Delius, H Wood
WORKS: Coleridge-Taylor – Violin Concerto in G minor, Delius – Suite, H Wood – Violin Concerto in A minor
PERFORMER: Tasmin Little (violin); BBC Philharmonic/Andrew Davis
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10879

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True to form, violinist Tasmin Little’s latest excursion into the lesser-known regions of English music has come up with material of genuine appeal. It might seem remarkable that a musician of mixed black African and Anglo-Saxon parentage, as Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was, could achieve real success as a composer in Edwardian England. His Violin Concerto of 1912 shows why: its post-Brahms idiom, enriched by the fresh-air quality of Dvoπák’s example, is the basis of a work that’s both inventive and likeably individual, with a solo part whose flair reflects Coleridge-Taylor’s training as a violinist.

The other two works also have much to offer also. Delius’s early Suite (completed probably in 1888, not performed until 1984) is a quite substantial statement, already characteristic, with a winsome ‘Elégie’ as the third of its four movements. The Concerto by Haydn Wood (like Coleridge-Taylor, another fluent composer-violinist) dates from 1928, and isn’t held back too much by its first movement’s Tchaikovskyan clichés; the expressive warmth and brimming invention of the central Andante and Finale more than compensate.

Besides the stellar quality of Little’s playing (as ever, warmly engaging and technically bombproof), Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Philharmonic provide accompaniments in a special class. The slow movement of Wood’s Concerto opens with a long theme for the principal horn, delivered here with spellbinding loveliness.

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Malcolm Hayes