> Virtuoso Violin [CH]: Classical Reviews- February 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Fritz KREISLER (1883-1951)

Praeludium and Allegro "in the style of Pugnani"
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) arr. Joseph JOACHIM

Hungarian Dance no. 1
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)

The Gadfly: Romance
Riccardo DRIGO (1846-1930) arr. Leopold AUER

Valse Bluette
Zdenek FIBICH (1850-1900) arr. Jan KUBELIK

Moods, Impressions and Reminiscences, op. 41: Poème
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) arr. KREISLER

La Vida Breve: Danse espagnole
Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880) arr. August WILHELMJ

Légende, op. 17
Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908)

Introduction and Tarantella, op. 43
Johannes BRAHMS arr. JOACHIM

Hungarian Dance no. 5
Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959)

Baal Shem: Nigun
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) arr Jascha. HEIFETZ

Beau Soir

Caprice viennois, op. 2
Nicolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) arr. Heifetz

The Tale of Tsar Saltan: The Flight of the Bumble Bee
Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) arr. Lionel TERTIS

Hassan: Serenade
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) arr. WILHELMJ

Ave Maria, D. 839
William KROLL (1901-1980)

Banjo and Fiddle
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)

Tzigane Rapsodie de concert
Tasmin Little (violin), Piers Lane (pianoforte)
Recorded at St. Michaels, Highgate, 30-31 July 1991
EMI CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 574 9492 [71.34] Superbudget


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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.

Christopher Howell


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