I can't imagine a more rousing start to a violin recital than Tasmin Little and Martin Roscoe powering through Brahms's youthfully exuberant single movement Sonatensatz.
It was a reassuring start, too. I immediately liked Little's full-bodied sound, massively energetic and a little gritty as the Brahms demanded, but focused, not strident. Then later in the movement her quiet sound proved equally engaging, with a tender fragility.
Meanwhile, Roscoe took no prisoners with the first theme's pounding, driving chords, then withdrew allowing Little's delicate sound to glimmer in the slower sections.
With the colourful works elsewhere in the programme, Beethoven's sonatas Op 12 No 2 and 3 were shown up as completely vanilla. No 3 was at least full of virtuosity, which the pair handled with remarkable ease – a crowd-pleaser for largely acrobatic reasons.
Conversely, the duo revealed hidden depths in Schubert's rarely performed Sonata in A minor, an understated piece with a melancholy, slightly abrupt ending, perhaps asking the question to which the Franck is the answer.
Champions of the Franck sonata are correct, it's a wonderful piece, and Little's affinity with it was apparent in this affectionate reading. When the third movement settled on its closing melody, it found a peace and tranquillity that utterly clarified the sonata's romantic programme.
Martin Roscoe convincingly spent the whole evening in the role of second soloist rather than accompanist, thanks to the choice of repertoire and his fine instinct for when to play with a bit of portent.
Ensemble problems were few and far between and the balance was largely impressive, especially since Little projects at all dynamic levels without resorting to wide vibrato. Both players were committed to great musical dialogue throughout and the delightful close canons in the Franck's finale seemed a fitting culmination.