Ibragimova's version of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas are suffused with the confidence and daring of youth. It's as if she has attained technical mastery and is now prepared to forget whatever has gone before and let her own skills and understanding lead her on. I found this very prevalent in the Presto from the G minor sonata where the clarity of playing and the sheer speed and attack at first seem to threatened to trip over its own feet, but the joyful structure and sounds emerge with marvellous clarity. It was like watching someone jump off the top of a steep ski run and, instead of turning and losing speed for the sake of stability, sticking to the fall line and discovering that this is the most satisfying and pure line of all, and attaining complete and perfect control.
By contrast, she takes the Chaconne quite slowly (14:11) - compared with Grumiaux (13:30) and Wallfisch (13:13), but this feels like an exploration and each note a hesitant step at first. But as it progresses, the confidence rises and the playing gently accelerates and opens out.
I compared Ibragimova's version of this movement with two others I own, Grumiaux and Wallfisch. Both seem thick and blurred by comparison. This may have something to do with the production of Ibragimova's disk, which seems remarkably in sympathy with the player, but I suspect that she actually does play with extreme clarity.
I've been searching for performances of these works for years but never found anything that worked for me - until now.
For me these performances are free of stylistic mannerisms (although they are informed by period instrument performance) and they simply get to the music - which is as pure and direct as anything in Western music.
Recorded sound is bright and clear but with a sympathetic acoustic behind.
Yes Ibragimova's playing shows fine technique and a glorious sound, but it is all in service of the music - which is the best test of a fine musician.
Alina Ibragimova delivered seemingly effortlessly a sublime, awe inspiring performance of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. 'Effortlessly' acquires special significance when one considers that this is a supremely challenging music both technically and expressively and which virtually exhausts the possibilities of this string instrument and is certainly at the pinnacle of baroque music for solo violin.
She delivers with aplomb, finesse, refinement, expressive power and virtuosity to perfection, music characterized by a dazzlingly intricate range of harmonic possibilities, miraculous subtlety, and astounding beauty. You have the feeling that the violin is her alter ego while she possesses a phenomenal insight into Bach's music for solo violin.
Her rendition impacted on me a uniquely gratifying feeling while it exceeded my high expectations. I anticipated a talented violinist and was confronted with a magician.
I was greatly moved when I heard Ibragimova play in Manchester and pre-ordered this disc as soon as it became available. It arrived on what was her 24th birthday. Whar a revelation it is to hear this music played without the ubiquitous use of vibrato. The violin, when it is allowed to speak, has its own characteristic sound, as has the oboe or the clarinet. The over-use of vibrato suppresses it, it demasculates it. She also avoids the mechanical swelling of the middle of every long note, a practice that makes short notes without a swell and long ones with a swell sound as if played on different instruments. There is nothing mechanical about the way Ibragimova shapes her notes, which is always completely natural and highly expressive. In fact, she plays this music as if it had not been written by another person at all, by a composer, but as if a greast creative surge through her was creating it for the very first time ever. And than that, surely, there can be no greater praise
Ibragimova's recording is almost unbearably heartfelt and moving. It is of personal significance to me this recording and feels as though she is speaking , singing through her playing. She is an extraordinary artist
Ibragimova has a beautifully light, piercing but pleasing tone. Her interpretation is somewhat intellectual, restrained, apollonian. I have Milstein on DG and Isabelle Faust (not so different from each other as you might think, at least not in their tone) - but Ibragimova is different : she made me start to really love and listen to this music. The first time the adagio opening of the G minor sonata bwv 1001 makes sense and sounds like music to me. The recording is clear, real, amazigly lifelike on a good system , best of the three.
This set of the unaccompanied violin works by the young Russian virtuoso Anna Ibragimova is yet another sign of the wealth of talent in the area of chamber and instrumental music. Ms Ibragimova plays on a modern instrument with modern bow, but in a style informed by period-instrument practice. This means that she plays in a light and dance-like way, and that the big chords are spread or arpeggiated, the effect of the latter being lesss stress-laden than some of the versions of the older performers (Heifetz, Milstein, Grumiaux, Perlman), who try to play as many of the notes of a chord at once, or spread them 2-2 without any relaxation of rhythm. Ms Ibragimova has a silvery tone, which is beautiful and even: it directs one to the music. Having said all this, Ms Ibragimova is capable of releasing the emotion of these pieces. Hers are performances of decorum and grace, ideally balanced.
This is the first time I've written an Amazon review, but the playing on these discs is so stunningly and effortlessly beautiful that I just have to urge people to listen to it. Alina Ibragimova is so good we have even named one of our chickens after her!
Viktoria Mullova shows great courage in playing this music differently to everyone else. In her notes she says she has found a way to play this music in a more straightforward way. I think this has led a lot of reviewers to underrate the performances, as they do not sound as effortful as usual. I feel that she has found a deep understanding of the flow of these sublime pieces and uses unusual but appropriate tempi. The music flows beautifully with a serene intensity.
I recently bought the new Alina Ibragimova set on hyperion. She uses more traditional tempi but her technique is so majestic that the music really flows. Her performance has more "light and shade" than mullova with some hushed playing which really draws you in. Needs to be played on a good music system. On balance, I prefer mullova for repeated listening, but having both is ideal.
In the past I have owned sets by Rachel Podger (good), menuhin (early version good) Szeryng (later dg version is good), sitkovetsky (good).