Tony Haywood
The Federation of Recorded Music News
September 2016

The excellent partnership of Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien has already produced wonderful results on disc. Their Beethoven Sonata cycle form Wigmore Hall's own label was very warmly received, and Hyperion snapped them up to make a disc of French music that included one of the best Ravel Violin Sonatas on disc. They now follow up with the first instalment of a projected Mozart complete cycle that includes some real juvenile rarities. Those very early pieces, especially K10 and K14, come from a mere 7-year-old, and though they are sometimes thought of as piano sonatas with a simple violin line, there are flashes of the mature Mozart to come especially in the use of the melodic material and the way it's developed. In fact, the first thing that struck me about the performances here was the way in which Tiberghien manages to inject real flair and variety into the many alberti basses and simple figurations, as for instance the start of the B flat major K10. There is a sparkle to Ibragimova's violin lines and a lovely buoyancy and lift that invests what could be seen as trite juvenilia with real feeling. The more mature sonatas befin to show Mozart thinking of the two instruments much more in partnership. I love the slow movement of K379, where the richer harmonies and longer singing violin lines seem to be paving the way for the young Beethoven, and here Ibragimova and Tiberghien really do shine. Of course, as with all this repertoire, there is fierce competition, not so much in the early works but certainly sonatas from K301 onwards. In fact, I had just been listening to a new recording of K379 from violinist Christian Tezlaff and his regular partner Lars Vogt on the Ondine label that is in many ways just as impressive, if a little more hard-driven. The comparison is fascinating, and I think the Hyperion disc ultimately will not disappoint anyone, given the level of flair and innate musicianship on display. A lovely recording ambience and the two-for-one price seal a very desirable release.