BBC Music Magazine

Ibragimova’s Franck is poetic and peerless

The violinist delivers a truly outstandin­g programme with Cédric Tiberghien and leaves Christophe­r Dingle craving more


L Boulanger Ysaÿe l l Franck Vierne l L Boulanger: Nocturne;

Franck: Violin Sonata in

A major; Vierne: Violin Sonata in G minor; Ysaÿe: Poème élégiaque Alina Ibragimova (violin),

Cédric Tiberghien (piano) Hyperion CDA68204 78:29 mins This is simply superb in every way. Franck’s Sonata in A usually dominates any violin recital, especially when the performanc­e is as wonderful as this, yet here it is but one component in an exquisitel­y balanced programme. The great Belgian violinist Ysaÿe is the common denominato­r between three of the works, doubtless drawing on Alina Ibragimova’s strong pedigree in his music having already recorded his challengin­g solo sonatas. Ysaÿe’s contemplat­ive Poème élégiaque acts as the perfect prelude, while both Vierne’s and Franck’s sonatas were written for him, the latter as a wedding present.

Vierne’s four-movement sonata is the largest work and it is hard to imagine it played better. As Roger Nichols’s typically eloquent booklet essay notes, Vierne was not only a pupil of Franck, but also gained a first prize in violin from the Paris Conservato­ire. This shows in an engrossing, thoroughly idiomatic work that deserves to be far better known. For those who only know the composer from his organ works, it will be a surprise to encounter the intense galloping fervour that opens the first movement, the third movement’s playfulnes­s or the sonata’s numerous poetic passages.

Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien are typically outstandin­g throughout, playing with exceptiona­l control without ever forsaking

spontaneit­y. Inspired by the tomb scene from Romeo and Juliet, Ysaÿe’s Poème élégiaque typifies the deep musicality on display here, for it was written at a point when he no longer felt the need to proclaim his virtuosity with showy fireworks. Ibragimova and Tiberghien convey each ebb and flow of its fluctuatin­g moods, from melancholi­c hesitancy to burnished passion, with conviction and integrity.

Whereas the soaring lines of this disc’s repertoire prompts many violinists to saw away relentless­ly, with Ibragimova it is the numerous moments of delicate hush that are striking, By finding a gossamer-like fragility and stillness not just in the middle of Ysaÿe’s Poème or the beautiful Andante Sostenuto of Vierne’s sonata, but even in the midst of Franck’s fearsome second movement, Ibragimova and Tiberghien build potential energy that is all the more devastatin­g when it is finally unleashed.

Make no mistake, this performanc­e of the Franck is among the finest on disc, its frequent intimacy providing a distinctiv­e perspectiv­e. The timbral range of both players is exceptiona­l, Ibragimova not afraid to tear harsh sounds from her violin as the high emotion of the Allegro threatens to boil over. In the opening pages of the Recitativo-fantasia there is a wonderful sense of a protagonis­t making a singing declamatio­n, then huskily seeking reassuranc­e from the wings, with Tiberghien’s piano responding with whispered encouragem­ent.

After all this comes a perfectly judged performanc­e of Lili Boulanger’s sublime Nocturne provides a heartmelti­ng conclusion to a generously-filled disc that ends all too soon.



Ibragimova and Tiberghien convey each ebb and flow of its fluctuatin­g moods

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 ??  ?? Exceptiona­l pairing: Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien
Exceptiona­l pairing: Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien

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