David Milsom
The Strad
December 2016

Alina Ibragimova is, in many ways, an ideal interpreter for this double disc of (mainly) early Mozart sonatas. Ibragimova's interest in 'modern' as well as 'period-instrument' playing is reflected in a sensitive reading (here on modern instruments) and her sense of period taste conforms very much to current expectations of Mozart performance—the sound, delivered with immaculate cleanliness, is well-balanced and translucent, with sparing vibrato, intelligent, small-scale phrasing, and some fastidious pianism by Cédric Tiberghien.

The performances are extremely consistent technically and musically, but one might draw out, for example, the lively, clean voicing of the first movement of K402 and a thoughtful fugal second movement. The D major Sonata K7 includes a prescient slow movement, full of proto-Romantic gestures. The final A major Sonata ends the set with a well-known and loved work, delivered with aplomb.

There are few limitations here that can be voiced reasonably, although a little more fire might energise the rhetorical gestures in the B flat major Sonata's first movement. This really is splitting harirs, though, and such aspects create a more human connection with performances hat are otherwise almost too perfect to be fully relatable. Overal, however, this is a very enjoyable pair of discs.