MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around   2022
 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Violin Sonata no. 1 in G Major, op. 78 [27:22]
Violin Sonata no. 2 in A Major, op. 100 [18:56]
Violin Sonata no. 3 in D Minor, op. 108 [21:15]
Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896)
Andante molto (no. 1 from Three Romances, op. 22) [3:32]
Alina Ibragimova (violin)
CÚdric Tiberghien (piano)
rec. 2018, Henry Wood Hall, London
HYPERION CDA68200 [71:06]

On this new disc from Hyperion, Alina Ibragimova and CÚdric Tiberghien turn in polished, respectable, and carefully-considered performances of the Brahms violin sonatas. There is no outsized rubato, the score has been honoured in its many details, and there are few blemishes – musical or technical – of any kind. Were I to hear these performances live, I’d be very impressed by the duo’s incredibly tight ensemble and their sensitive response to these difficult scores.

Hearing them on a commercial studio recording, my main caveat to potential listeners is that Ibragimova and Tiberghien seem reluctant to “go for it,” to embrace the many highs and lows found in the music. There is always a note of holding back, of leaving some energy or passion in reserve. This approach can work for many composers but it doesn’t quite serve Brahms.

In their defence, there are few entirely successful recordings of all three sonatas; most past recordings of the sonatas as a set shine in one or two of the sonatas, but almost never in all three. The classic Josef Suk/Julius Katchen Decca disc is probably the most solid for completists, but if pressed for individual favourites, I’d identify Gioconda de Vito/Edwin Fischer in op. 78, Adolf Busch/Rudolph Serkin in op. 100, and Yehudi and Hephzibah Menuhin’s 1936 rendition of op. 108. The only modern complete sonata set that I’ve kept in my collection is the Pamela Frank/Peter Serkin Decca disc, a collaboration that brought out the best in both players.

The high point for Ibragimova and Tiberghien is the second sonata. This is the one that responds best to a subtle, gentle approach, and the two find a great deal of colour in its pages. There are many thoughtful small touches throughout, particularly from the gifted fingers of Tiberghien, who manages to find some interesting articulations in unexpected places. In terms of the individual performances, my only quibble would be Ibragimova’s on/off vibrato (straight or “white” tone on one note, vibrato on the next), something that may be a relic of her work in early music, or possibly even related to the late-Soviet period habit noted by Henry Roth in his Violin Virtuosos from Paganini to the 21st Century. Both musicians are outstanding technicians, capable of an impressive amount of control throughout the three sonatas.

The Romance of Clara Schumann makes a poor counterweight to the sonatas, coming off as inconsequential compared to Brahms’s monumental, impassioned utterances. It was a pleasant thought to include the piece as an encore, but the comparison is injurious to Schumann, who wrote much better music than the Romance presented here.

If you would like a very modern, streamlined and elegant version of the Sonatas, this rendition will fit the bill.

Richard Masters

Previous review: Stephen Barber


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount