Beethoven

Violin Sonatas Vol 1

Alina Ibragimova/Cédric Tiberghien

(Wigmore Hall)

4 star rating

Beethoven

Violin Sonatas 9 & 10

Edward Dusinberre/David Korevaar

(Decca)

3 star rating
© Financial Times

Beethoven composed 10 sonatas for violin and piano. All but the last were written within a comparatively brief time-span (1798-1803), so they don’t exhibit the same range and stylistic variety as the string quartets or cello sonatas, which were written at more extended intervals. And they are unusual for making the pianist an equal partner in the musical argument.

Ibragimova and Tiberghien, recorded live at a Wigmore recital last October, tackle the first, fourth, sixth and seventh sonatas. Still only in her mid-20s but already with a formidable reputation, Ibragimova brings characteristic intensity and sparkle to the music, playing the dynamic contrasts for all they are worth while investing the rhythms with a quasi-gypsy lilt. The partnership with Tiberghien sounds fresh and spontaneous – outstandingly so in the opening movement of the eighth sonata (Op 30 No 3). But even in the gentle Adagio cantabile of the seventh (Op 30 No 2), they establish a special rapport with the music. In his studio recording of the “Kreutzer” (the ninth) and tenth sonatas, Dusinberre, first violinist of the Takács Quartet, produces a warmer, plusher sound without sounding any less committed.

Korevaar’s accompaniments tend towards the sugary, but the long spans of the “Kreutzer” are intelligently paced. If I had to choose a single disc in this repertoire, I’d go for the familiar coupling of the “Spring” and “Kreutzer” sonatas, with Perlman and Ashkenazy on the bargain Decca Legends label. But Ibragimova is worth sampling on her own terms.

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