Lyri­cism and pre­ci­sion from ris­ing vi­o­lin star

Alina Ibrag­i­mova and Steven Os­borne

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - SIC -

Alina Ibrag­i­mova, was quite re­mark­able.

Al­ready re­ceiv­ing crit­i­cal ac­claim from crit­ics around the world, the flu­ency and ac­cu­racy of her im­pec­ca­ble tech­nique was put to the test in a de­mand­ing pro­gramme of works by Prokofiev and Arvo Part.

Left-hand fin­gers flash­ing around the strings in mer­cu­rial light­ness in the open­ing of Prokofiev’s First Sonata set the scene for in­to­na­tion that was im­pec­ca­ble, while the long drawn-out notes of Part’s Speigel im Speigel demon­strated her ex­tra­or­di­nary con­trol of the bow. You could con­tinue eu­lo­gis­ing on her mo­ments of pure vir­tu­os­ity, but it was also her mu­si­cal­ity in the way the two Prokofiev sonatas emerged with ev­ery phrase so thought­fully fash­ioned, yet ap­pear­ing with that feel of spon­tane­ity. When she moved to those many long lyri­cal pas­sages in both works, they found so much love and beauty lav­ished on ev­ery note.

Her pro­gramme was com­pleted by Part’s Fra­tres, a ti­tle that ap­pears in many guises, but here as a dif­fi­cult score for vi­o­lin and pi­ano.

In one of the UK’s lead­ing con­cert pian­ists, Steven Os­borne, she had the ideal part­ner­ship. De­mands made by both com­posers were swept aside and those mo­ments of ‘cross­fire’ be­tween the duo emerged with ra­zor-sharp pre­ci­sion.

Among to­day’s great young vi­o­lists, Hong-Mei Xiao is in a league all of her own, as this disc makes abun­dantly clear. Tech­ni­cally im­mac­u­late, the dif­fi­cul­ties pre­sented by the com­poser are swept aside as the mood of the mu­sic be­comes pas­sion­ate and ec­static. Pos­sess­ing a beau­ti­ful in­stru­ment from which she draws gor­geous sounds, she has the a most id­iomatic or­ches­tral back­drop from the Bu­dapest Sym­phony Orches­tra. Add the per­fectly fo­cused record­ing qual­ity, and you have my fer­vent rec­om­men­da­tion.

Bloch – Baal Shem/Vi­ola Suite/Suite He­braique (Naxos 8.570829) £6.99:

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