Sometimes it is a surprisingly long, and complicated, process to materialise a recital. There are quite a lot of things, unseen by the public, to be managed and co-ordinated before we can present a recital to our audience. However, when the recital is richly packed with profound musical moments, everything before it disappears; the joy is irreplaceable. Last night’s performance by violinist Alina Ibragimova and pianist Cédric Tiberghien was certainly one which got me totally immersed.
The highlight of the first half to me was Janacek’s Violin Sonata, the only violin sonata he wrote. In the tense yet lyrical first movement, one could feel the severity and fiery temperament, which was directed straight at us in a passionate and non-negotiable way. In the second movement Ballad, Alina’s violin lyricism was pure, sweet and warm, and it was supported by the caring hands of Cédric on the piano.
There was a fierce loyalty between Alina and Cédric, and the partnership breathed the same air and shared the same mood. The duo’s strengths were much more than tossing and catching phrases; their negotiation of the subtle rhythmical accents and sound emphasis was mutual, natural and immediate. I thought this was brilliantly expressed in the Beethoven.
John Cage’s Six Melodies was a totally mysterious and haunting six-minute experience. Somewhat detached from the reality, but indescribably catchy.
Schuman’s Violin Sonata No. 2 immediately evoked a whirlwind of emotion, bringing an intensity of (almost) life and death. Vigorous and totally convincing, at times Cédric seemed to have a total go at the piano, looking like he was banging on it to produce the loudest volume. However, the reality was anything but that – his variety of tone, sometimes warm and caressing, sometimes crisp and distinctive, was the most valuable gift to match Alina’s sublime clarity and deeply engaged sounds. In the serene third movement in G major, a set of variations, the violin tone was eternally sincere and silvery. And it felt as if the piano part was gently and preciously dressing it to complete the beauty.