Alina Ibragimova / Cédric Tiberghien

Vierne, Franck: Violin Sonatas; Ysaÿe: Poème élégiaque

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This release by Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova and her French duet partner Cédric Tiberghien is recommended for the rich, dramatic reading of the Franck Violin Sonata alone, although there are many other recordings of this sonata. But it's not just their playing that contributes to the overall effect. The program here is exceptionally well-chosen, with works that (except for the little Nocturne by Lili Boulanger at the end) might have been programmed with the Franck in the early 20th century. All but the Boulanger are connected with the composer/virtuoso Eugène Ysaÿe, represented here with his lovely Poème élégiaque, Op. 13, the essence of the French style. The Franck is at the center of the program, paired with the very different Violin Sonata in G minor, Op. 23, of Louis Vierne. This work is not frequently played, and if you're wondering whether Vierne's dense, swirling, driving organ language might transfer to the medium of violin and piano, the verdict is a qualified yes. Sample the harmonically rich finale, where Tiberghien's energy brings Vierne's organ music to mind. Hyperion's Henry Wood Hall acoustic fits the music well, and if you've been in the mood for a French music recital, get hold of this one without delay.

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