Alina Ibragimova & Cedric Tiberghien “A rare treat”

Duo are a rare treat
Steve Moffat, Wentworth Courier

Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova and French pianist Cedric Tiberghien are so much in demand as soloists that it is a logistical challenge for them to fit in concerts as a duo.

When they do, something special happens, as the Musica Viva audience found out at this concert on a windy spring afternoon. For both performers the music is everything. They eschew needless gesture, histrionics or showing off, instead bringing out the colours and texture of the works.

That they have wonderful technique and taste, of course, helps enormously and Saturday’s program of Schubert, Brahms, Szymanowski and Richard Strauss provided them with plenty of opportunity to show it.

Brahms’s G major sonata has beautiful lines and singing melodies and the temptation is to milk it for all its worth.

But Ibragimova prefers the lighter touch with minimal vibrato, and with Tiberghien’s ever-sensitive tonal palette working beneath this piece was a highlight.

Equally impressive, though very different, was Karol Szymanowski’s Mythes – three pieces inspired by Greek mythology – which were written during World War I. The composer, sick since childhood, was unfit to serve and locked himself away on the family’s Polish estate to read and compose.

Largely impressionistic, with its rippling piano conjuring up the fountain of Arethusa, this made a good palate cleanser for the high drama of Strauss.

Here Tiberghien navigated the dramatic and often stormy accompaniment without swamping Ibragimova’s lovely lines on her golden-toned Guarneri.

The pair met as young musicians singled out for the BBC’s New Generation Arts Scheme, a magic carpet ride of study, Promenade concerts, recordings and international appearances.

The duo have recorded recitals live at the Wigmore Hall in London and recently released a splendid second volume of Beethoven’s violin sonatas (WHLive0041, distributed by Select at


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Welcome to Musica Viva’s International Concert Season blog. Here you can follow and read more about our wonderful touring artists.

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