Monday, August 1, 2022
St George’s, Bristol
Leading up to this lunchtime César Franck Sonata in A for Violin and Piano were Havergal Brian’s Legend (discovered posthumously, he died in 1972, and believed to have been written during the 1920s) – a fine performance of very undistinguished/anonymous music – and Eugène Ysaÿe’s altogether more tantalising Poème élégiaque, passionate and tender music (if overlong) inspired by Romeo and Juliet, given a compellingly intense reading by Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien, who went on to impress with their rapport in the Franck (already recorded for Hyperion, https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/a.asp?a=A1677, this duo’s label, numerous titles), a leisurely, confiding and dreamy first movement (if too much so), a stormy second, Tiberghien dealing well with the thickets of notes, and Ibragimova attacking her violin with fervour, but the tempo slackened unduly before the tempest resumed. Given these artists tending to cosset the music (at least today) the ‘Recitativo-Fantasia’ was better disposed to this approach; yet, ironically, the Finale could have done with greater expanse and less of being harried and the violin sounding strained. An encore was needed to discharge some reservations, and Lili Boulanger’s Nocturne proved ideal; a lovely piece, beautifully played.