12 Fantasias for Solo Violin
Alina Ibragimova (violin)
Hyperion CDA68384 63:45 mins
Telemann’s 12 Fantasie per il violino senza basso date from 1735. They belong to a variety of compositions which the composer engraved, printed and issued under his own supervision during the 1730s. While approaching neither the complexity nor the sustained thought and development of Bach’s unaccompanied violin music, Telemann’s Fantasias lack neither technical interest nor melodic allure. Multiple stopping is frequently called for and the harmonies, real and implied, make the term Fantasia apt. Each piece is variously cast in three or four short movements.
Alina Ibragimova enters an arena in which several violinists have preceded her, among them Arthur Grumiaux, Maya Homburger, Andrew Manze and Rachel Podger. Modest in dimension though these pieces are, each musician discovers a field providing scope for individual expression. Ibragimova favours brisk tempos, in this respect corresponding more closely with Grumiaux than, for example Podger whose tempos are more spacious and, on occasion, allow for a more multi-dimensional expressive palette. Where Ibragimova is often at her most appealing is when addressing dance metres. Here her lightly articulated bowing and her softly spoken melodic declamation make for considerable appeal. These virtues are especially prominent in the second half dozen of the Fantasias, where the dance assumes prominence over the contrapuntal dominance of the first. Elsewhere Ibragimova demonstrates a playful agility in enlivening the kaleidoscope of Telemann’s canvas. One of the most colourful of the Fantasias is the Sixth, where a strikingly chromatic Presto is followed by a lyrical ‘Siciliana’, one of only two instances among the 12 of a named dance.