Tasmin Little plays Clara Schumann, Dame Ethel Smyth & Amy Beach (CD)

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Tasmin Little, John Lenehan

The renowned violinist and exclusive Chandos artist Tasmin Little returns with a line-up of three women composers whose lives share some features but also significant differences that illustrate the complex lives of female musicians.

Clara Schumann, Dame Ethel Smyth, and Amy Beach all came from families that encouraged their musical interests but balked, in varying degrees, at professional training and engagement. All three composers draw on the influence of Robert Schumann and Brahms; Beach and Smyth, in particular, were fond of metrical and motivic manipulation.

Tasmin Little plays this music, so close to her heart, with her usual warmth and dexterity. The manuscript of Clara Schumann’s final chamber work, Three Romances, declares it ‘for piano and violin’, an ordering reflected in the relative complexity of the parts, the florid passagework here played beautifully by Little’s long-term collaborator, John Lenehan.

"Neither [the Beach or the Smyth], surely, has ever been treated to anything like Little’s gleaming, endlessly fluid tone or John Lenehan’s warmly characterised, unfailingly sensitive pianism…there’s a flexibility and sense of sweep to Little and Lenehan’s performance [of the Beach] that’s utterly persuasive on its own terms. The two players respond to each other as if by instinct"  5 stars -Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice, March 2019

"This delightful, beautifully performed album makes an emphatic, seemingly effortless case for these composers’ music." 5 stars -BBC Music Magazine Chamber Choice, March 2019

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Clara Schumann (1819-1896):

  • Three Romances, Op. 22

Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944):

  • Sonata in A minor, Op. 7

Amy Beach (1867-1944):

  • Romance in A major, Op. 23
  • Sonata in A minor, Op. 34
  • Invocation, Op. 55