Alina Ibragimova / Cédric Tiberghien

Schubert: Complete Works for Violin and Piano

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With the exception of the late Fantasy in C major, D. 934, Schubert's works for violin and piano are little played. Most of them are early works; several were published as sonatinas, and they all were issued as pieces for piano with violin accompaniment in the Mozartian manner. They have the flavor of student works, but at times the Schubert of daring long-range harmonic organization pokes its head through. Violinist Alina Ibragimova and pianist Cédric Tiberghien deliver a low-key performance of the whole set that nicely matches the household ambiance in which these works would have been performed. They are alert to the characteristic Schubertian structures that lurk even in the three earliest sonatas, and they master subtle dynamics in building up the harmonic architecture of the Fantasy in C major. For an example of the pair at their best, sample the first movement of the Violin Sonata in A major, D. 574, where the emphasis shifts off between the violin and the piano's left hand. There's much that is worth hearing here, yet the recording leaves the listener frustrated at times. The Fantasy and the Rondo in B minor, D. 895, are true virtuoso pieces, among the few in Schubert's catalog, but Ibragimova does not enter far into this aspect of it; her performances lack flair. And she does not really deliver a tune in a way that will leave you remembering it. There is material here for listeners, and other performers, to study, but the whole does not leave a consistently satisfying impression despite strong engineering from Hyperion in London's Henry Wood Hall.

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