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Cant see the woods for the trees
on 4 June 2014
There's something about this recording that I find quite difficult to put a finger on. The music is not easy in the first place, being full of juxtaposed half-tones (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm not a musician) and note sequences that wander in and out of atonality. My problem is that whilst at any instant it sounds well played, each work, as a whole, just does not stand up; the architecture is not seen for the detail. I find the violin playing very full-on, very insistent, as if every note is the most important note in the work. Although there are more relaxed sections, one of these sounding like a different recording session, there is little in between the full-on and the laid-back, no dynamic interplay. I also felt on occasion that Little failed to pick up on rubato introduced, admirably, by Lane.
I replaced this with the Holmes/Fenby recording which I find more to my liking. If I dare say so, I find Holmes' playing more in tune (yes, really!) than Little's. The note sequences seem to make more sense, and thus the architecture of the pieces comes through better. I would say Holmes also shows more subtlety, is more probing, and has greater understanding of these works. Except of course for the op. posth. sonata which is not played.
Fans of Tasmin Little will still want this, no doubt, but I would refer fans of Delius to Holmes/Fenby on Unicorn Kanchana, occasionally available second-hand.