This collection makes a wonderful concert. The CD is stunningly recorded and beautifully performed by the BBC Philharmonic and Tasmin Little. Her solos are lovely. The whole of this CD is greater than the sum of its parts. What an inspiring combination - Elgar, Delius,Vaughan Williams, Holst and Moeran! The Elgar works are lovingly arranged by Roger Turner (2013). There is grace and elegance in the Delius 'Legende' and the Holst 'A Song of the Night.' The Vaughan Williams 'The Lark Ascending' is breath stopping - probably the greatest musical birdsong ever. And then there is the Moeran Violin Concerto from 1942. The sustained view of the English and Irish countryside is nostalgic in a good sense. I love the second movement scherzo in rondo form which ' expresses the spirit of the summer fairs of Kerrry and particularly of the famous Puck's Fair of Killorglin'. The final movement is slow throughout, reflecting the calm of Autumn in Southern Ireland. There are tranquil moments for the clarinet and for the horn amid string murmurings. The works here recorded contain the gentle secret of English and Irish great music.
High-calorie stuff here, but there's nothing over-sweet about Tasmin Little's tone, so it seems to me just right for the rhapsodic music on this disc, and there's a lot of it. The recording is very well-balanced, and the sound is gorgeous. The BBC Philharmonic winds and brasses are often in conversation with the solo violin here, and they play very beautifully. I hadn't heard the Moeran concerto before, and I'm not sure that it's a great work, but it's a very pleasant one, and it it makes full use of the violin's capacity for lyricism and rhapsody, and there are places in the outer movements that are cadenza-like and give the feel of the soloist spontaneously improvising. The middle movement seems more folk-song-like, although I can't identify the themes as being particularly Irish. Of the other material on the disc, the three short Elgar pieces are very well-known and are as well played here as you'll hear them anywhere. "The Lark Ascending" is something of a pop favorite for aspiring violinists, and there are many fine recordings, and this one is as good as any. The more I hear it, the more I tend to think of it as a kind of showpiece, and Little has total command of it. Of the other two pieces, both well-played, it was the Holst "Song of the Night" that particularly struck me -- it rises in the middle to the most powerful climax on this disc, and while the texture is richer than Sibelius, it had a touch of the balefulness of some of Sibelius's music. It was probably a mistake to play the whole CD at a sitting, for there's a limit to one's capacity for rhapsody, but if you were to balance it with a bit of Stravinsky or Prokofiev, to clear the palate as it were, you would find much to enjoy.
on 16 May 2014
I am a fool for The Lark Ascending.
This recording, one of many I have sampled over the years, stands apart from those considered to be the very best.
The production is flawless and faultless - all credit to Chandos for such an amazing production.
The production would have been meaningless, of course, if it weren't for the stunning performance of Tasmin Little.
A performance that is, in my view, one of the most perfect interpretations on Vaughan-Williams much loved romance
for violin and orchestra.
If you must download, find a site to download FLAC.
on 9 December 2013
Apart from the Lark, the other pieces are familiar and warmly played - others, intriguing and completely new to me. The Lark itself is, of course familiar to nearly everyone and certainly the star of the recording - I've truly never heard it performed in such a satisfying and thoughtful way - and it's been very well recorded many times: the exceptional quality of poised mid-summer meditation is certainly present and fully justifies what might otherwise be considered as just yet another version of the very well known piece. Utterly, breath holdingly beautiful!