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Hyperion Records

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Dovedale by Moonlight (c1784/5) by Joseph Wright (1734-1797)
Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio / RT Miller Jr Fund / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67911/2
Recording details: August 2012
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: August 2013
Total duration: 13 minutes 30 seconds

'Beautiful and touching … the performances of the virtuoso Rondo brillant and Fantasie are exhilarating; the Rondo combining lively momentum with a sense of poise and the Fantasie beautifully characterised in all its varied aspects. Especially fine are the episodes in Hungarian style, full of energy and grace, and the barnstorming finale, rivalling the famous 1931 recording of Busch and Serkin' (Gramophone)

'Performances which it is hard to imagine ever being bettered' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Most bewitching of all, and performed with a lightness and poise by this established duo, is the Fantasy in C major, breaking convention at every turn, written in 1827' (The Observer)

'Ibragimova and Tiberghien encompass the music with exhilarating flair … and with a keen stylistic ear' (The Daily Telegraph)

'The three Schubert Sonatinas are each rendered beautifully to scale by both partners … the felicities are of course manifold … Ibragimova and Tiberghien rise admirably to Schubert's late musical and technical challenges. In the aforesaid finale, they really let their hair down and the result is truly exhilarating. The Fantasy is as much a challenge to the pianist as to the violinist: Tiberghien emphatically holds his own!' (International Record Review)

'When Schubert’s melodies send Ibragimova soaring into the skies or when she tosses off filigree decorations she stays at her electrifying best. Try her wonderful high-wire pianissimos during the leisurely C major Fantasy of 1827, the most Schubertian of all the pieces, sweetly dominated by variations on his soulful song setting of the Rückert poem Sei mir gegrüsst!. As for vigour, nothing sets the pulse racing as much as his B minor Rondo, the most assertively rhetorical work here, given a performance powerful enough to stand in for the National Grid. Much to enjoy here' (The Times)

'Ibragimova and Tiberghien play with flair and taste' (The Sunday Times)

'Given the fine track record of violin-piano duo Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien, it’s not surprising to find them completely at home—lyrically poised and intimately dynamic—in Schubert’s four sonatas. But this disc is about the composer’s complete works for violin and piano, and how refreshing it is to have the fiery, often whimsical Rondo in B minor reeled off with such élan; to hear the multi-coloured expansiveness of the four-movement Fantasy in C minor, with all its playful pianism to boot; and Schubert’s delightful miniature transcription of his own song Sei mir gegrüsst!, itself the subject of variations in the Fantasy' (The Scotsman)

Rondo in B minor, D895
composer
October 1826; published by Artaria as Rondeau brillant; first performed in 1827 by Josef Slavík and Karl Maria von Bocklet

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
While the four violin sonatas are essentially intimate works, the B minor Rondo (or Rondeau brillant, as it was dubbed by the publisher Artaria), and the C major Fantasy are rare display pieces from this least showy of composers. Both were inspired by the young violin virtuoso Josef Slavík (or Slawjk), who in 1826 left his native Bohemia to make a career in Vienna. A few years later Chopin admiringly dubbed him ‘a second Paganini’. Dating from October 1826, the Rondeau brillant was first performed by Slavík and Karl Maria von Bocklet in a concert organized by Artaria early in 1827. (Bocklet would later take the piano parts in the premieres of both Schubert trios.)

Cast in two lengthy sections—an Andante introduction and an Allegro in sonata-rondo form—the Rondo in B minor is Schubert at his most extrovert and rhetorically forceful. Its technical demands are of a different order from the works of 1816–17, with the piano sometimes treated as a surrogate orchestra. The introduction begins imposingly with echoes of a French Baroque overture, before softening into a long-spun, Italianate cantilena. The question posed by its final two notes is resolved by the rondo Allegro, music of unflagging rhythmic energy, by turns skittish and strenuous, leavened by moments of stillness and harmonic poetry. The second theme, introduced by the piano against hyperactive violin figuration, could have strutted straight out of a Schubert Marche militaire. After a reminiscence of the introduction’s cantilena and a reprise of the rondo theme comes a central episode in G major whose affable tune is truculently developed through a daring spectrum of keys. The rondo theme makes a final appearance before the march kick-starts the barnstorming Più mosso coda.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2013

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