“Tasmin Little introduces an extra dimension of meditation to the dreamy opening melody of Walton’s Violin Concerto … 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 … In Gardner’s hands the Symphony has a fine sense of urgency and is full of youthful vigour, volatility and orchestral virtuosity … Chandos’s sound is admirably balances in the concerto, with high impact and ample reverberation.”
David Denton – The Strad.com – August 2014
“… Edward Gardner proves a thrilling exponent of the First Symphony, crisp in rhythm and eloquent brass fanfares … Her (Little) understanding and affection for this lyrical and passionate work (Violin Concerto) are obvious. It holds no difficulties for her. Gardner and the orchestra make this a “must” for lovers of English music.” ****
Michael Kennedy – The Telegraph (Seven magazine) – 15 June 2014
Music **** (Very Good) Sound ***** (Excellent)
Clemens Haustein - Fono Forum magazine (Germany) - August 2014
Recording of the Month
"...with Little/Gardner the intricate instrumental layering of both works is fittingly served by the clarity and spaciousness of SACD."
Michael Greenhalgh - MusicWeb-International.com - 9 June 2014
Recording of the Month
Edward Gardner presides over blisteringly eloquent and splendidly unbuttoned accounts of both these Walton masterworks … Heaps to savour and cherish, in sum; certainly, seasoned Waltonians will have a ball. With magnificently truthful sound and judicious balance throughout, this terrific coupling should be snapped up without delay.”
Andrew Achenbach – Gramophone magazine – July 2014
“… Chandos’s sound is rich, full-bodied, and there’s a generous coupling. Walton’s Violin Concerto is an entertaining work – soloist Tasmin Little is on good form. Particularly in the first movement’s mercurial central section…”
Graham Rickson – The Arts Desk.com - 7 June 2014
“…Under conductor Edward Gardner, the BBC Symphony Orchestra bring dynamism, melancholy and fresh impetus to the works of Walton …” ****
Geoffrey Norris – The Telegraph – 10 June 2014
“…This CD – a perfect pairing of his two symphonic masterworks – shows what we have been missing. Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra profile the symphony’s turbulent syncopations, brassy dissonances and expressionist brilliance – an exhilarating performance. In the concerto, Little finds the nexus between sultry lyricism and rapturous virtuosity.” *****
Andrew Clark – The Financial Times – 17-18 May 2014
“…This is by a fair margin the most recommendable version of this generous coupling to have appeared … it is difficult to imagine it being bettered in the near future…”
William Hedley – International Record Review – June 2014
Album of the Week
“… Edward Gardner’s dynamic, pulsing rhythms and strong grip of the expansive structure of the first movement are particularly remarkable… Little offers a mature, deeply felt and brilliantly played account of a work she has championed more than any other contemporary violinist…”
Hugh Canning – The Sunday Times (Culture magazine) – 25 May 2014
Recording of the Month
Performance ***** Recording *****
"Two masterworks of English music, graced with top-flight interpretations from two exceptional artists and a classy orchestra: what’s not to like? The high-octane intensity of Walton’s First Symphony is a different proposition from the Violin Concerto, whose alternating roguishness and warmth reflect the southern Italian scene where much of the work was written. This range of demands is superbly met here..."
Malcolm Hayes - BBC Music magazine - June 2014
Recording of the Month
"...This is a compelling coupling of exceptionally fine Walton performances. The Chandos recordings of both performances are superb – I listened in SACD format. Both these performances now become the modern benchmark for the respective works. Though I’ve had a number of very good discs to review in the last few months, it’s been a little while since I added a disc to my shortlist for Recordings of the Year. This one emphatically goes on that list."
John Quinn - MusicWeb-International.com - May 2014
Performance ***** Sonics *****
"...Enter this new recording on Chandos from the BBC Symphony Orchestra (veterans in this piece) under Edward Gardner and at last we have a performance and sonics that this symphony deserves... Walton’s Violin Concerto is an apt choice of coupling for the Symphony... This is the second time that Tasmin Little, a true champion of British music, has recorded the Walton Violin Concerto ... In Little’s performance, recorded here in the fine acoustic of the Watford Colosseum, it is the lyrical aspects of the first movement and parts of the finale that make the strongest impression. The romantic and dreamy tranquillity of the opening movement is marvellously conveyed by the rapturous sounds that she elicits from her rich toned instrument. The challenges of the central scherzo are met with absolute conviction and mischievous wit, while Gardner and the BBC SO provide incisive accompaniment throughout in which the balance between soloist and orchestra seems ideal. Those seeking a coupling of these two Walton masterpieces will be more than well served by this outstanding disc that certainly warrants a top recommendation."
Graham Williams - SA-CD .net - 29 April 2014
“…of all Tasmin Little’s and Edward Gardner’s recent fine recordings this has impressed me the most. With excellent recording and a fine booklet of notes … I think you’ll want to buy it when you have heard it.”
Brian Wilson - MusicWeb-International.com – 22 April 2014
Like a good wine, violinist Tasmin Little is ageing very well indeed. I have been following her career since the late 1980s, from her crisp, fresh-faced readings of Bruch, Dvorák or Lalo under the late Vernon Handley to her latest Chandos recordings, most notably the best Moeran VC on record. This account of the Walton Violin Concerto is wonderfully fluid, relaxed and eminently musical. Cannot be bettered. I'm not quite so enamored with Edward Gardner's version of Symphony No.1, however. The famous opening chords seem a little too hushed, indistinct. Thankfully, things improve greatly thereafter, and the polish and silvery sound of the BBC SO cannot be denied. A generously filled and crisply recorded album then, highly recommendable for the VC and certainly more than adequate in the symphony.