Beethoven • Violin Sonatas
Alina Ibragimova, vn - Cédric Tiberghien, pf
Wigmore Hall live
An auspicious start to a Beethoven sonata series
A sens of occasion
These performances are brimful of life; there's a sense of joy and freedom, with fast passagework that's exceptionally clear and even, and expressiveness that ranges from extreme delicacy to passionate intensity. The liveliness has another aspect, too: Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien have clearly thought about each phrase, every expression mark, with such detailed individuality as to banish routine interpretation. As a result, the character of each sonata emerges with vivid clarity - the outer movements of the First Sonata show the extraordinary impulsiveness oftheyoung Beethoven's creativity, while in Op 23’s finale subtle modifications of tempo accentuate the sense of constant surprise as the music changes direction. Ibragimova's way with the accompanying passages deserves special praise: cutting vibrato to a minimum, she blends perfectly with the piano's left hand, and in Op 30 No 3’s middle movement her change of tone on taking up the melodic line is most beautiful.
In Op 30 No 2, the most substantial of these sonatas, we can feel the strong emotional involvement of both players, not through ultra-intense tone or heavy emphasis but by means of rhythmic drive (in the first movement) and through long-term phrasing - in the Adagio we feel each extended phrase as a single shape. As live performances these are remarkably free from blemishes but whether or not they've been cleaned up witb retakes, the sense of occasion, of living the music as it unfolds, is very strong. I look forward to the other instalments of what promises to be a remarkable Beethoven series.
Duncan Druce, Gramophone – August 2010
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