Alina Ibragimova plays a wide range of repertoire and seems able to vary her vibrato at will, from the Romantic warmth of Lekeu to the vibrato-less austerity of her solo Bach. She is very convincing at both, and here, opting for something between the two, she proves just as incisive in giving a fresh projection to Mendelssohn's ever-popular E minor concerto, while no doubt winning new fans for the charming, if less memorable D minor one, written when the composer was only thirteen ... In the E minor, she does make the piece sound very new, with some quite individual shaping of the solo line. Nothing sounds automated, yet it holds together very well - take for instance the rising thirds in triplets in the first movement, which she breaks up into smaller bunches of notes. It could sound mannered, but actually the effect is very engaging and musical, and her sound has a focus that gives a sense of a high-wire act. This quality dominates in the D minor work also - they say Mendelssohn was the most precocious musical talent of all, and hearing this piece you can certainly believe it. Ibragimova makes it sound very winning and is ably backed by Vladimir Jurowski, who turns in a bracing performance of the Hebrides Overture between the two to make this a disc of singular originality - she really makes this music breathe and sing, against an orchestra of unprecedented vividness in this repertoire.
on 12 January 2013
In every respect this is a really superb CD. The performance of both concertos by Alina Ibragimova cannot be faulted. The orchestral accompanyment is also excellent - the original instruments really help. Tempi are on the faster side of average, without being too fast. I am not sure that I would want them any faster though.
Most reviews have rightly concentrated on the two violin concertos, which are indeed truly excellent. The Hebrides overture (Fingal's Cave) is also particularly good. Here the original instruments really do count. I would rate this performance as reason enough to buy the CD alone!
The last movement of the early D Minor Violin Concerto is a real joy. In comparison with other performances I have heard, this one really makes me wonder why it is not heard more often.
The recording balance between the violin and orchestra is judged to perfection in my view - just the merest shade forward, so that the subtly of Alina Ibragimova's superb technique can be appreciated without masking the equally excellent orchestral playing.
I am hoping that Hyperion will record more violin works with Alina Ibragimova. I heard her play 'The Lark Ascending' with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under John Eliot Gardiner in Autumn 2011 - which was wonderful.
In short, unless you dislike original instruments and fast tempi, I think anyone buying this CD will be really pleased with their purchase.
5 BRILLIANT Stars! Award-winning violin virtuoso Alina Ibragimova and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment playing on period instruments, under the baton of Vladimir Jurowski, present marvelous, inspired renditions of two of Romantic-era composer Felix Mendelssohn's violin concertos. In addition, the OAE gives a soaring, captivating 9 minute accounting of The Herbrides "Fingal's Cave", Op 26. The Violin Concerto in E Minor, Opus 64 Allegro molto appassionato movement clocks in at a somewhat brisk 12 plus minutes, but Jurowski, the OAE, and Ibragimova with her sweet tone, imaginative shading, and fleet fingering, do not sacrifice the heightened drama, atmospherics, or the expected nuances of this famous Mendelssohn work. Furthermore, Ibragimova's virtuosic Allegro molto appassionato soliloquy is a daring, beautiful cadenza of subtle tension and release which typifies the overall performances here rippling from her blazing bow work, as does her bracing Allegretto non troppo - Allegro molto vivace movement work. The triumphant Violin Concerto in D Minor, written by young genius Mendelssohn around age 13 as a gift for his violin teacher, again is delivered refreshingly 'apace', especially the 2 Allegro movements, in a breathless, tense, brilliant manner. This recording by Alina, Vladimir, and the compelling OAE is another 'Ibragimovian' 'shot across the bow' of the classical world reinforcing Russian-born, Britain-based Alina Ibragimova as a true rising star of the classical violin and is further testament to her individualistic, imaginative approach to classical music. Bravo! 5 ROMANTIC Stars (7 tracks; Time: 56:21.)