Clone of Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien perform Mozart’s Violin Sonatas: Volume 3

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LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Violin Sonatas, Vol. 3: No. 12, K27; No. 16, K31; No. 17, K296; No. 23, K306; No. 32, K454; No. 36, K547
PERFORMER: Alina Ibragimova (violin), Cédric Tiberghien (piano)


Cédric Tiberghien and Alina Ibragimova continue their complete Mozart sonata series with two further outstanding releases. As before, Tiberghien’s limpid phrasing, radiant cantabile and velvety, cushioned tone proves a continual source of pleasure, complemented ideally by Ibragimova’s silvery-toned exploratory zeal, as she delights in Mozart’s gentle textural interplay, as though discovering its special qualities for the very first time.

Included in the first set are three out of the four sonatas (Kk6-9, composed in Paris/Versailles) that comprise Mozart’s first published music. In the very first sonata – cast uncharacteristically in four movements – Tiberghien (most unmistakably in the finale) subtly adapts his playing style so as to uncannily suggest the tonal properties of an early piano, but in modern Steinway terms.

In the sole example here from Mozart’s second set of sonatas
(No. 10 in B flat, K15, composed in London), the violin assumes a greater degree of expressive and thematic independence, and Ibragimova embraces the gentle enhancement of her role with just the right degree of smiling enchantment.

From England, Mozart (along with his father Leopold and sister Nannerl) travelled to Holland where he composed a further set of six sonatas, including No. 14 in D, K29, in which Tiberghien and Ibragimova relish the music’s enhanced thematic interest, pointing the way forward to the later works. The opening Allegro of K305 in A (No. 22) is perhaps a shade too ‘molto’ in its exhilarating forward momentum, yet the accompanying theme and variations are delightfully turned, as is the opening Allegro of K376 (No. 24), with its in-joke of starting with the kind of emphatic chords normally reserved for the end of a movement.

By placing two of the earlier sonatas – No. 12 in D, K27 and 16 in B flat, K31 (both from the Dutch set of 1766) – centrally on each of the second set’s two discs, the music with which these early delights are surrounded seems all the more remarkable. No. 17 in C, K296 and 23 in D, K306, the first and last of seven sonatas Mozart composed in 1778, find Tiberghien and Ibragimova rejoicing in the wide-eyed sparkle of the outer movements and capturing inimitably each central movement’s flow of poetic inspiration without resorting to espressivo overloading. Those used to the post-Romantic aesthetic of Henryk Szeryng or Itzhak Perlman might prefer a more spacious, majestic approach to K454’s opening Largo, but turn to the enchanting final sonata in F K547, composed as a sunny relaxation away from the labours of the last three symphonies, and it is difficult to imagine this wonderful score more exquisitely played or radiantly engineered.


Julian Haylock