At the grand old age of 23 the Russian born and UK trained violinist Alina Ibragimova must be already tired of references to her youth, but she has been a prodigy since her teens and this BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert showed her to be an artist of formidable technical and musical command.
Bach’s Third Partita for unaccompanied violin was exciting yet refined, the Preludio brilliant and driven, with bold contrasts and endless variety in the grouping of its uniform semi-quavers. The slower movements were unhurried with every ornament integrated into the texture with concentrated thoughtful playing. The gigue concluded a bravura performance of flawless intonation and articulation.
Beethoven violin sonatas have been a feature of this lunchtime series and the one chosen here, No. 4 in A minor, Op.23, demonstrated yet again that there is there is no such thing as a “typical” Beethoven sonata.
Ms Ibragimova was joined by her frequent partner Cedric Tiberghien, himself a pianist with an impressive line-up of international appearances. He achieved wonders in restraining the potentially overwhelming volume of the Town Hall’s large Steinway and their well prepared and well balanced performance had many moments of finely judged rubato and exquisitely delayed returns to the prevailing mood. Only in the first movement did occasional displays of temperament in pushing the tempo sometimes threaten to derail the structure of this often agitated and brooding piece.
After the warm audience applause it was in the encore, the adagio from Beethoven’s 3rd sonata op, 12, that we had the most sublime playing of the concert, with Ibragimova taking the opportunity to demonstrate yet another facet of her artistry in sustained playing of the most rapt intensity. A haunting end to a fine recital.