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Hyperion Records

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Appletree and Red Fruit (c1902) by Paul Ranson (1863-1909)
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas / Gift of Audrey Jones Beck / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67820
Recording details: November 2010
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: September 2011
Total duration: 33 minutes 39 seconds

'The instinctive artistic collaboration between Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien … is again brought to the fore in this perceptive and magically played programme of French chamber music … they have great fun with the wild gipsy flair of Tzigane, but you can tell that this spontaneity is born of deep understanding of the music’s character and of unshakeable rapport. In the entire programme the playing is of finesse and winning, communicative allure' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Just under their ease of delivery lie fire and muscle; and their dynamics and touch modulate even more than the music's keys. Ibragimova is especially adorable in the slow movement, tumbling gracefully, high in the air, through a melody that never seems to end … the best is yet to come. In the G major sonata's first movement Tiberghien stabs while Ibragimova soars, the contrast between them deliberately underlined, the better to generate extra power whenever they intertwine. The central blues movement is magnificently judged building up from coquettish whispers toward the darkly brazen … a triumph' (The Times)

'Ibragimova’s tone is taut, sweet and astringent, but with plenty of power in her bowing arm … while Tiberghien’s limpid touch and easy bravura are perfect for this music. The lovely central movement, très lent, is Lekeu’s masterpiece, done with exquisite intensity here … Ibragimova and Tiberghien do it proud' (The Sunday Times)

'This must count as one of the most satisfying surveys of Ravel's complete violin music in the catalogue' (The Strad)

'Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien possess the rare gift of being able to recreate on disc the same captivating spontaneity and musical intensity that distinguishes their concerts. Rarely have the sleek lines and textures of Ravel's two sonatas sounded so alluring, nor the manic drive of the Tzigane so deliriously intoxicating. Their sublimely articulate and sensitive account of the Lekeu Sonata surpasses even Menuhin's 1938 trailblazer' (Classic FM Magazine)

Violin Sonata in G major
composer
1892/3; written for Eugène Ysaÿe

Très modéré  [11'52]
Très lent  [11'33]
Très animé  [10'14]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Violin Sonata, written for the great Belgian virtuoso Eugène Ysaÿe, declares its programme of sentiment from the opening phrase—a bold downward octave followed by an upward scale. If there are echoes of Beethoven, Wagner and, of course, Franck, this is only to be expected of an impressionable twenty-two-year-old. Like Franck, Lekeu in the two outer movements proceeds by continual modulation, binding the music together with cyclic repetitions of material and especially of rhythms: phrases often have their longest note in the middle and end with a triplet. The finale also repeats sixteen bars almost note for note from the first movement during the build-up to the final section.

But perhaps Lekeu’s greatest achievement is to be found in the opening theme of the central slow movement. Not only does he manage the 7/8 (4+3) time signature with consummate flexibility, he keeps our interest through all forty bars and three minutes of the melody with only two brief excursions away from the tonic E flat major. The central section is introduced by a tune on the piano played ‘very simply and with the feeling of a popular song’. In this, Lekeu was following not so much Franck himself, as members of the bande such as d’Indy, for whom folksong was the epitome of nobility and purity.

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2011

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