Lyricism and precision from rising violin star
Alina Ibragimova and Steven Osborne
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: