This collection of violin favourites of today and yesterday
impresses by the sheer natural musicianship with which it is presented.
The Brahms dances, for example, which in the interests of "gypsy
freedom" are sometimes subjected to a new tempo every half bar,
here bounce along contentedly and sound all the better for it. The more
so as Little has that indefinable something-or-other which causes her
to rise above the image of the "gifted young lady" at an end
of term school concert (where many of these pieces might still be heard).
So, while she does not swoop around in the "Caprice viennois"
in an attempt to ape its creators own style, she nonetheless caresses
it with a warmth of her own. This seems to me to be an example of modern
violin-playing at its best, showing that these miniatures beloved of
an earlier generation can still speak to us today. Little is most touching
in pieces like the exquisite Fibich "Poème" or the
Delius Serenade, and also the uncharacteristically soothing Shostakovich
Romance; she is passionate in the affecting middle section of the Wieniawski
"Légende", but shows she can sizzle with the best in
"The Flight of the Bumble-Bee". The only piece I regretted
was the dreadful arrangement of Schubert's "Ave Maria", though
Little's heartfelt sincerity presents it in the best light possible.
Lane accompanies excellently, and the Ravel "Tzigane" allows
both artists to show their mettle.
With a fine-sounding recording and notes by Peter Avis
that are brief but very much to the point, this is a disc that can be
confidently bought by anyone looking for the best kind of easy-listening
for violin and piano.