Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien play Mozart Violin Sonatas

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COMPOSERS: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart
WORKS: Violin Sonatas Nos 5, 9, 15, 18, 21, 27 & 33
PERFORMER: Alina Ibragimova (violin), Cédric Tiberghien (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: Hyperion CDA 68091

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There are several ‘complete’ recorded sets of Mozart’s violin sonatas available which conveniently overlook Kk6-9, 10-15 and 26-31, written when Mozart was a touring boy prodigy – though Szymon Goldberg (Decca), Pinchas Zukerman (Sony) and Rachel Podger (Channel) are among the few who include them. These early efforts may tend to run like keyboard sonatas with violin commentary, yet they provide invaluable insights into Mozart’s gradual emergence during the 1760s as a child of the Rococo.

Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien include three of them here – Kk10, 14 (Nos 5 & 9, both London, 1764) and 30 (No. 15, Holland, 1765) – and clearly relish their sense of innocent contentment and exhilaration in Mozart’s burgeoning creative powers. Tiberghien’s limpid phrasing, radiant cantabile and velvety, cushioned tone combine exquisitely, captured to perfection by production dream-team Andrew Keener and Simon Eadon.

One immediately senses the stylistic sea-change towards outright Classicism with the G major Sonata No. 18 K301, yet it is in the companion E minor Sonata  No. 21 K304 that Mozart makes one of his characteristic leaps forward. In the finale, major and minor modes intertwine and caress each other, and here Ibragimova and Tiberghien respond with playing of captivating subtlety, tracing the music’s semantic ambiguities with nerve-jangling acuity. Treating this as the emotional gateway to the later sonatas, they respond to the enhanced emotional range of No. 27, Kk379 and No. 33, K481 with such graceful sensitivity and micro-inflected insight that at the point of contact it is difficult to imagine them better played.

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Julian Haylock