Alina Ibragimova / Cédric Tiberghien

Mozart: Violin Sonatas Nos. 12, 16, 17, 23, 32, 36

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This double-CD group of Mozart violin-and-piano sonatas can stand on its own, and the title merely reads Mozart Violin Sonatas. It is, however, the third installment in a consistently fine Mozart cycle from pianist Cédric Tiberghien and violinist Alina Ibragimova. Deeper in the graphics the sonatas are denoted as being "for keyboard and violin," and indeed it is the keyboard that plays the dominant role even as the ways in which Mozart shakes up this configuration is part of the interest. The balance shifts from time to time, and the two players are so alert to the shifts that it seems as though you're following Mozart's own thinking. The corpus of Mozart works for this combination includes a good deal of juvenilia, and Tiberghien and Ibragimova hit on a strong programming idea: the youthful works are placed between the mature pieces on each disc, serving as intermezzi. They're more interesting than most of the other productions of the child Mozart, with unmistakable hints of the characteristic melancholy. The sensitivity of the players in the works of the adult Mozart is the mark of true Mozartians. Sample the finale of the Violin Sonata in D major, K. 306, with its unusual tempo shifts and piano cadenza, for a taste of how these players bring out the best in the music. The sprightly Parisian Violin Sonata in C major, K. 296, a real counterpart to the Concerto for flute, harp, and orchestra in C major, K. 299, also shows the players' sympathy for Mozart. Hyperion contributes ideal chamber-sized sound from the Wyastone Estate Concert Hall; the players use modern instruments, but the sound is flattened down so that Tiberghien's piano sounds almost like a fortepiano. The end result is a Mozart violin album that will be a strong attraction not only for those following the Tiberghien/Ibragimova series, but for anyone in search of a deeply enjoyable Mozart sonata album.

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