Brahms/Sibelius

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Brahms/Sibelius
LABELS: EMI Eminence
WORKS: Violin Concertos
PERFORMER: Tasmin Little (violin)Royal Liverpool PO/Vernon Handley
CATALOGUE NO: CDEMX 2203 DDD
Tasmin Little is a rising star and I was hoping for much from this disc that generously couples two of the major ‘war horse’ concertos. I therefore regret feeling less than completely positive about it.

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In the Brahms, there seems to be a difference in approach between soloist and conductor, Little favouring the lyric and light, while the orchestra moves sluggishly, uneven in intonation and clarity of texture. Only in the coda of the third movement does the work finally come alive.

The Sibelius concerto is a coolly elusive work that needs drama and mystery carefully balanced to bring out the full glory of the score. Little, who is clearly very musical, has yet fully to understand the music’s architecture, so that the work’s dramatic form can come through clearly. But she is hardly aided by an orchestral accompaniment that fails to provide support in generating vital rhythmic excitement and energy. The beginning of the third movement, which should bubble with suppressed energy, is simply out of sorts.

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Little has a fine sound, and a technique which will surely serve a mature understanding of these two great works in time. I hope that her next interpretations on disc will not be marred by a sound balance that so crudely emphasises the brass, threatening at times almost to engulf her.Annette Morreau