Beethoven: Violin Sonatas, Vol. 2

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven
LABELS: WHLive
WORKS: Violin Sonatas, Vol. 2: in F (Spring), Op. 24; in A Op. 12, No. 2; in G, Op. 96
PERFORMER: Alina Ibragimova (violin), Cédric Tiberghien (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: WHLive 0041

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Good news: the freshness, intellectual penetration and exhilarating sense of shared music-making are forefront again in this second volume of Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien’s Beethoven cycle. Some may prefer a little more sugar in the opening of the Spring Sonata but I don’t think Beethoven would have been one of them. This spring is invigorating and always playful. Then Ibragimova surprises us at the start of the Adagio with the kind of hushed tone that draws one right in and keeps its hold. 

The sense of large cat-like playfulness continues in the first movement of the A major Sonata. However, it is the last sonata, the G major Op. 96, that brings out the best in them – as it should. The opening trill figures from both instruments manage to say so much with so little apparent effort.

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Then the interlinking violin and piano lines that follow made me realise for the first time how much Brahms learned from this work in his own G major Violin Sonata. The superbly modulated range of expression, the grasp of the work as a whole organism and the sense of lively musical partnership gives this performance a special authority. Stephen Johnson