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Hyperion Records

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Water Nymph (detail) by Otto Theodor Gustav Lingner (1856-1917)
Private Collection / Agra Art, Warsaw / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67703
Recording details: July 2008
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: May 2009
Total duration: 14 minutes 24 seconds

'Ibragimova and Tiberghien make a winning combination, both in the sweltering sensuality of the central works and in the more conventional late-Romantic effulgence of the warm-hearted Sonata of 1909 … this repertoire should be high on the priority list of all those interested in 20th-century violin music, and it's not easy to imagine a stronger case being made for it than here' (Gramophone)

'This is a performance that shows Ibragimova's art at her remarkable best; at one moment poised, the next playing with abandon, she is one of the most expressive violinists around' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Ibragimova and Tiberghien produce beautifully characterised accounts, whether in the veiled contours of the Nocturne and the explosion of rhythmic energy that follows it in the Tarantella, or in the refined exoticism of Mythes, with its strange mixture of classical evocation and sensuous indulgence' (The Guardian)

'We are living in a Second Golden Age of violinists, but even in the context of Hilary Hahn, Leila Josefowitz and Julia Fischer, Alina Ibragimova is an astonishing talent … technically the playing is superb. Intonation is exceptional, and Ibragimova's timbral range—from the coarse to the silken, from the richly throbbing to the chastely disembodied—seems unlimited. The music is studded with challenges … she tosses it all off with self-confident authority … Cédric Tiberghien, with whom Ibragimova has played often, offers a real partnership rather than mere support … this is a major release' (International Record Review)

'Ibragimova's stunningly potent technique—the stuff of legend even in the close scrutiny of the digital age—is soon forgotten in a sensuous croon through which the more extravagantly impossible the violinistic hurdles, the more ecstatically glorious her tone becomes. Indeed, hurdles do not exist for her, and the usual descriptive and critical terms are useless, if only because they suggest comparison with other artists suddenly dwarfed by the incomparable. Such phrases as 'a tonal palette ranging from guttural coruscation to the most brilliantly glowing scintillance' simply will not do. There is a touch of the uncanny here, even a suggestion of the human voice—as of whispers, sighs, moans, wailing—in which the notes dissolve into a direct spiritual prehension. Ibragimova does not play or perform—she utterly possesses' (Fanfare, USA)

'The early violin sonata is especially fine, as are the little-known Paganini caprices' (The Evening Standard)

'The beautiful 24-year-old Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova teams with French pianist Cedric Tiberghien to prove that Szymanowski's violin music is the most impressive of his chamber music, especially the Scriabinesque Violin Sonata in D-minor Op 9. An exceptional disc' (The Buffalo News, USA)

Three Paganini Caprices, Op 40
composer
1918

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In the Three Paganini Caprices Op 40 (1918) a reinventing-from-within of an earlier composer’s thought processes intensifies the kinship with Busoni. Szymanowski had rented an apartment in Vienna before the War, but had found Viennese cultural life enclosed and stifling. The emergence of Paganini in waltz form here, sometimes dripping with sentiment, may be a wry comment on Vienna, or on Paganini, or both—the latter because his was the type of self-aware virtuosity inimical in every way to the abstract and intrinsic subtleties described by Christopher Palmer in relation to Mythes. The last of the three Caprices here proves to be none other than ‘that’ tune yet again, subjected to grandly ironic display and here preceding Rachmaninov’s celebrated attentions by some sixteen years. Doubtless Szymanowski’s compatriot Witold Lutoslawski enlisted the present work as a reference point when in 1941 he fashioned his own Variations for two pianos on Paganini’s most celebrated inspiration.

from notes by Francis Pott © 2009

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