Coleridge-Taylor: Violin Concerto in G minor, Op 80; Delius: Suite for violin and orchestra; Haydn Wood: Violin Concerto in A minor

Reviewed on Wed 02 Dec, 2015

Tasmin Little plays divinely throughout, especially where delicacy is required, producing some gorgeous tone ... a smashing anthology.

This disc raises the interesting question about going outside the mainstream repertoire. If you're worried about unfamiliarity, then you'll find that the language of the three works here is pretty familiar; it's just that the compositions aren't. So you can stay in one comfort zone while being a bit of an explorer anyway. The music of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor possesses its own, gentle voice. If you like Bruch or Elgar, then you'll discover that his immensely personable 1912 concerto has much to offer. The Delius suite is early stuff, when his potent voice was still emerging. However, it was the Haydn Wood concerto that really caught me unawares. Right from its dramatic and forceful opening, it's one of those compositions to make you wonder why it hasn't been taken up more widely by violinists. Tasmin Little plays divinely throughout, especially where delicacy is required, producing some gorgeous tone; Andrew Davis and the BBC Philharmonic lend beefy support. Just occasionally the soloist seems to me rather too embedded in the orchestral tapestry (it may be that she is somewhat backwardly placed). A smashing anthology all the same.
–Ivor Solomons