COLERIDGE-TAYLOR; H WOOD Violin Concertos
You’ll encounter a comparable charisma and dedication in these artists’ exemplary account of Haydn Wood’s A minor Concerto. Composed in 1928, it had to wait a further five years for its first airing, in a radio broadcast featuring the Catalan virtuoso Antonio Brosa (who went on to give the March 1940 New York world premiere of Britten’s Violin Concerto). It’s a red-blooded, ripely Romantic and impeccably crafted vehicle, rather less distinctive in profile than the Coleridge-Taylor but whose many opportunities for bravura display are eagerly devoured here, and which can boast a central Andante sostenuto of spine-tingling beauty.
Little and Davis also make a gorgeous thing of Delius’s four-movement Suite. Written in Paris between 1888 and 1891 (but not heard until a BBC broadcast in 1984), it gets a performance of scrupulous sensitivity, wistful tenderness and affectionate ardour to set alongside Ralph Holmes’s with Vernon Handley and the RPO for Unicorn-Kanchana from three decades ago (now on Heritage, 9/85, 1/13). Excellent booklet-notes by Anthony Burton; sumptuous sound and a wholly truthful balance, too.
To sum up, a disc with a distinct touch of magic about it, movingly dedicated by Little to the memory of Chandos founder Brian Couzens, who died just a few days before the sessions.