The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Walton: Symphony no.1, Violin Concerto
An impressive interpretation of the composer’s heartfelt concerto
Thursday, 21 August 2014
Tasmin Little (violin) BBC Symphony Orchestra/Edward Gardner
CHANDOS CHSA 5136 (Hybrid SACD)
Tasmin Little introduces an extra dimension of meditation to the dreamy opening melody of Walton’s Violin Concerto, a mood that sets the scene for a heartfelt and often expansive account. There is certainly no lack of outgoing exciting brilliance in the bravura passages of the central scherzo, though it is the beautifully silky tone Little brings to the many introspective moments that will particularly recommend her performance.
With Edward Gardner energising the BBC Symphony Orchestra players, the score’s wide dynamic swings are well captured, yet the performance as a whole seems to have been geared to achieving technical perfection at the expense of creative spontaneity.
In Gardner’s hands the Symphony has a fine sense of urgency and is full of youthful vigour, volatility and orchestral virtuosity, the hard-hitting timpani given an uncommon degree of prominence. Chandos’s sound is admirably balanced in the concerto, with high impact and ample reverberation.
From the August 2014 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.