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Competition in this repertoire is rife. Little and Lane present the three sonatas without companion (most obviously without the F-A-E Sonata Scherzo). Perlman/Ashkenazy certainly have their adherents in this repertoire, despite Ashkenazy’s brittle sound; David Oistrakh or Kremer are also in the running among a host of others. Yet Little carves her own niche, her resonance with Brahms’ tender side beyond doubt, caressing the long lines. Her partner (rather than accompanist) is Piers Lane, who can tend at times towards the literal.

The second sonata, with its melodic links to Brahms’ song Wie Melodien zieht es mir, finds Little soaring splendidly, while the crepuscular Andante tranquillo theme is perfectly judged. The third sonata is the finest performance of the three, with Little infinitely touching in the Adagio and a wonderful Scherzo from both musicians. The piano recording could have a touch more body; fine notes by Nicholas Marston.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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