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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67547
Recording details: January 2007
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: September 2007
Total duration: 14 minutes 53 seconds

'Their [Sonatas and Suites] muscularity, contrapuntal and harmonic élan and the sense of self-belief they exude show them to be products of a formidable, free-thinking creator. Ibragimoba proves an ideal exponent, her tempi freer and more elastic (and mostly quicker) than Turban's … Ibragimova's greater fluency and flexibility pay greater dividends time and again … [Concerto funebre] Ibragimova's fiercely clear-eyed account—alive to the music's expressive demands as well as its dynamic markings—faces stiff competition but need not fear comparison with any of the dozen or so rival accounts. Her technique is formidable to say the least … Hyperion's couplings and recording quality, to say nothing of the excellent Britten Sinfonia, deserve a share in the plaudits. Recommended' (Gramophone)

'An auspicious and admirably adventurous recording debut for one of the most exciting of today's young violinists, Alina Ibragimova. With the Britten Sinfonia strings providing incisive support, she steers a committed yet level-headed course through this emotive work, bringing plenty of tonal variety and expressive subtlety to play on Hartmann's deeply felt music. These characteristics also colour her brilliant playing of the solo works, with their echoes of everything from Bach to Bartók' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Wonderfully assured … the way in which the playing of the Britten Sinfonia dovetails with hers is always compelling. Ibragimova pairs the concerto with the solo violin suites and sonatas … in these wonderfully fluent pieces, it is perfectly married with the contrapuntal ideas that Hartmann clearly derived from Bach's solo violin works; Ibragimova conveys their crispness and clarity to perfection' (The Guardian)

'Crisply and incisively argued … musicianship of the highest order' (International Record Review)

'She is Russian, 23, and a scorchingly good violinist. This is her CD recital debut; always a testing occasion, but especially for young violinists. What repertoire should be chosen? … Ibragimova has chosen the third route, towards serious and neglected repertory … Hartmann had his youthful iconoclasms, but the agony of the Second World War brought out the tragic artist in him … to the adagio section [Concerto funebre] she brings passion without mawkishness; and the control wielded at high altitudes is phenomenal. The Britten Sinfonia, led by Jacqueline Shave, make fluent sounds too, amplified by Hyperion's lively recording—close to the mike, but never in your face … Ibragimova is marvellously sturdy and exact, especially when making perilous leaps from exposed places. And she plays with such commitment and feeling … as for her next disc, the doors are wide open. But whatever Ibragimova plays, it'll be worth hearing' (The Times)

'An auspicious recording debut by the 22-year-old violinist Alina Ibragimova. Hartmann's four unaccompanied violin works … are not for the faint-hearted executant. They are, however, compelling, brilliant pieces, speaking of the sharp intellect and wide-ranging imagination of a composer who was at least the equal of Hindemith … Ibragimova brings to each piece a formidable technical and musical command, her sound always vividly coloured, her response the right mix of spontaneous passion and practised control' (The Sunday Times)

'As her performance of Hartmann's Concerto proves, Ibragimova is capable of delivering the bold, knotty statements upon which these works' success depends, with the appropriate Affekt. For example, in the First Suite, she transforms herself from a cheerful contrapuntist, in the movement entitled 'Fuga: Munter', to a relaxed chanteuse in the penultimate 'Dreiteilege Liedform', to an edgy knife thrower with Bartók-like fragments in the final Ciaconna. And the demands on her flexibility seem almost endless. The precocious Alina Ibragimova offers a program of engaging and thoughtful works that she's approached with an equally engaging, interpretive and masterfully commanding musical personality that brooks no opposition. Strongly recommended to violinists, to violin aficionados, and to general listeners of all predilections' (Fanfare, USA)

'Hartmann's invention is consistently inventive—and of real substance—and benefits from Alina Ibragimova's interpretative focus and technical security: she has clearly taken huge trouble to get inside this music and give performances of insight, dedication and bravura. Each movement emerges as an emotional testimony of Hartmann's wide-ranging stylistic craft … Ibragimova and the conductor-less Britten Sinfonia make a very strong case for Concerto funebre (1939, revised in 1959)—certainly the most convincing account this listener has heard … what impresses with this Hyperion account is how eloquent Hartmann's music is, how deeply felt it is, and how electrifying the frenetic third movement is—and wonderfully clarified in this performance … and how the composer’s emotionalism and rhythmic ingenuity is absorbed into a convincing whole. This is music with direct connection to the listener. If you don’t know the Concerto (or, indeed, any of the music here—it has taken many decades for the solo-violin works to get even a foothold on the repertoire) then Ibragimova and the Britten Sinfonia's wild-eyed enthusiasm and musical consideration—superbly recorded—could well be the best way to enter Hartmann's specific but universal world. A revelation!' (ClassicalSource.com)

Sonata No 1
composer
1927

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The five-movement Sonata No 1 carries for superscription an unidentified quotation: ‘An die schönen Stunden denke immer’ (Always think of the good times). It begins with a wiry, energetic Toccata (a species of movement Hartmann was to favour throughout his career), whose strongly rhythmicized motivic working breaks out occasionally into cadenza-like prestissimo flurries of notes. In complete contrast, the ‘calm crotchets’ of the second movement carry an austerely lyrical melodic line, with a slightly more agitated middle section making use of triple- and quadruple-stopping. The third movement carries the curious direction Verrückt schnell, unschön spielen (insanely fast, ugly playing) and is a furious scherzo in 7/4 time characterized by dissonant double-stopping, manic repeated notes and capriciously changing rhythmic groupings. If Hartmann had a model for this extraordinary movement it was probably the Rasendes Zeitmass (Raging tempo) in Hindemith’s unaccompanied Viola Sonata, Op 25 No 1, of 1922. It comes to a shrieking climax and then a slow coda leads into the principal slow movement, marked Mit viel Ausdruck (with full expression). Here the violin spins a wonderfully flexible cantilena, the time signature changing in almost every bar, and with whole-tone inflections that suggest the influence of Debussy. Spanning the instrument’s full gamut, it mounts to its highest register and gradually descends to a peaceful close. The finale is a fugue, also subtitled ‘Toccata’, oddly characterized as Heiter, burschikos (cheerful and tomboyish) and directed to be played always staccato. This is the most neoclassical movement in conception, though Hartmann handles this most taxing of forms for a solo string instrument with a strenuous panache of his own.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2007

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