Presto News - 5th August 2013
Schubert works for violin and piano from Ibragimova and Tiberghien
Despite still being in his teens, Schubert’s output in the years 1815-16 was truly remarkable, including four symphonies (Nos. 2-5), three Masses, chamber music, piano sonatas, four one-act operas and over 250 songs. It is also included his first three violin sonatas. It is those three sonatas which form the first disc of Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien’s new 2-disc set of the composer’s complete works for violin and piano.
Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien
These three sonatas weren’t published until eight years after Schubert’s death, and were then rather misleadingly called ‘sonatinas’ (no doubt to try and lure the lucrative amateur market into purchasing them). Like many of Schubert’s works of this time these sonatas show a clear debt to Mozart; although the first of the three (D384 in D major), cast in three movements, is neither technically nor musically especially demanding, both the second and third (D385 in A minor, and D408 in G minor) are more substantial four-movement works, lasting as long as some of Beethoven’s sonatas and certainly neither miniature nor light-weight as the term ‘sonatina’ would suggest.
Ibragimova and Tiberghien wisely seek an intimate and restrained approach in these sonatas, with pure beauty of tone, and sustained singing lines with limited vibrato the aim rather than anything too overly expressive. They still achieve plenty of playfulness and bite in the faster movements, though, with gentle bubbling excitement threatening but never actually boiling over. It is very carefully judged, and with Ibragimova’s customary pinpoint intonation and excellent understanding between the two players the music comes across very well indeed.
The second disc starts with Schubert’s Violin Sonata in A major, D574 (originally called ‘Duo’ on first publication). Although composed only a year after the earlier sonatas it is a whole different world, and shows a much more distinctive Schubertian voice with beautiful singing melodies, lolloping and rippling accompaniments, unexpected shifting keys and abrupt dynamic changes.
The disc is completed with two works from the very end of Schubert’s short life – the B minor Rondo and C major Fantasy from 1826 and 1827 (as well as the violin and piano arrangement of Schubert’s popular song Sei mir gegrüsst which forms the basis of a set of variations in the Fantasy). Both the Rondo and the Fantasy are much more flamboyant and dramatic pieces (quite uncharacteristic of Schubert) and after the stylistic restraint shown by Ibragimova and Tiberghien on the first disc, they clearly relish the opportunity to let rip a little here.
It is fantastically vibrant playing, technically brilliant and always stylish. As in their previous discs together, Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien play with a real rapport and affinity, and Tiberghien’s sensitive touch and ability to identify the most crucial harmonies and allow them just that fraction more time helps elevate this music making to the very highest level.
None of these works are particularly well known, but are all both enjoyable and rewarding to listen to. Sound samples are available as usual via the links below. This is certainly a set I’ll be returning to again in the future.
Schubert: Complete works for violin and piano
Alina Ibragimova (violin), Cédric Tiberghien (piano)
Chris O'Reilly - firstname.lastname@example.org
5th August 2013
Britten: Peter Grimes
Alan Oke (Peter Grimes), Giselle Allen (Ellen Orford), David Kempster (Balstrode), Gaynor Keeble (Auntie), Henry Waddington (Swallow), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Mrs Sedley), Britten–Pears Orchestra, Steuart Bedford
Britten’s powerful and masterful evocation of the North Sea in all its moods has become linked with the Aldeburgh that was home to Crabbe in the 18th century and Britten in the 20th. Steuart Bedford leads a vast and accomplished group of performers on this new recording, created shortly before the company performed the work on the beach at Aldeburgh as part of the festival, further celebrating Britten's centenary year, 2013.
Schubert: Symphony No. 6
Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Thomas Dausgaard
Symphony No. 6 was composed by a 20-year-old Schubert who wished to pay tribute to one of his heroes at the time: Rossini. This is the second disc in an ongoing cycle of Schubert’s symphonies with the SCO and Thomas Dausgaard, described by BBC Music Magazine as ‘an excitingly combative, and ultimately very plausible new look at Schubert.’
Hans Werner Henze: The Complete Deutsche Grammophon Recordings
For Henze, music was “the communication of human experience… Music has made enormous progress in this century, as an art of the soul, as social refinement, as something important for people, as important as the air to breathe”. This 16-CD set brings together for the first time all of Deutsche Grammophon's recordings of Henze’s stage and concert works, featuring the original LP-cover artwork and a 68-page booklet.
Bizet: Le Docteur Miracle
Marie-Benedicte Souquet (soprano), Pierre-Yves Pruvot (baritone), Isabelle Druet (mezzo-soprano), Jerome Billy (tenor), Orchestre Lyrique de Region Avignon Provence, Samuel Jean
Bizet’s one act comic opera brings us an old man and his wife (who intends burying him as she has buried her four previous husbands), a girl in love with an officer who appears successively as a valet, a cook, a quack doctor... All ends well, though only after a fake poisoning attempt with an omelette. The turning point and heart of this comedy is in fact the ‘omelette quartet’, its grandiloquence mimicking the grand opera of the day.
Charpentier: Litanies de la Vierge
Ensemble Correspondances, Sébastien Daucé
Sébastien Daucé and his musicians present a sumptuous interpretation of the six-voice motets composed by Marc-Antoine Charpentier for the House of Guise. Since its formation in 2008, Ensemble Correspondances has devoted itself chiefly to French sacred music of the 17th century. Brought together by Daucé during their studies at the Conservatoire de Lyon, the musicians pursue this work with infectious enthusiasm.
Auber: La Muette de Portici
Diego Torre, Oscar de la Torre, Angelina Ruzzafante, Wiard Witholt, Opernchor des Anhaltischen Theatres & Anhaltische Philharmonie, Anthony Hermus
Although La Muette de Portici had already celebrated its 500th performance in 1880, today it has been almost entirely forgotten and is infrequently produced. This recording comes from the Anhalt Theater in Dessau in April 2010, conducted by Anthony Hermus.
Saariaho: Chamber Works for Strings, Vol. 1
Minna Pensola (violin), Anna Laakso (piano), Atte Kilpelainen (viola), Marko Myohanen (electronics), Antti Tikkanen (violin), Tomas Djupsjobacka (cello), Kaija Saariaho (electronics), Meta4
This is the first of two releases of chamber works for strings by Kaija Saariaho, a composer renowned for her vivid orchestration. Her chamber works highlight her ability to create unique sound worlds with only a few instruments. Here she also adds live electronics to create a unique colour.
Wagner: Parsifal (DVD)
Johan Botha (Parsifal), Michaela Schuster (Kundry), Wolfgang Koch (Amfortas/Klingsor), Stephen Milling (Gurnemanz), Milcho Borovinov (Titurel), Staatskapelle Dresden, Christian Thielemann
Christian Thielemann launches a new era for the Salzburg Easter Festival, with a groundbreaking performance of Wagner’s ‘Easter opera’. The cast of leading Wagnerians includes the great heldentenor Johan Botha in the title role, Michaela Schuster as the enigmatic Kundry, Danish bass Stephen Milling as Gurnemanz and, in a break with tradition, Wolfgang Koch in the two baritone roles of Amfortas and Klingsor.
Blu-ray version also available here.
Copyright © 2002-17 Presto Classical Limited, all rights reserved.