Alina Ibragimova and Cedric Tiberghien are well-known to Auckland audiences; Tiberghien returns in November to play Saint-Saens with the APO and Ibragimova visits us once more in 2017 for a Bartok Concerto with the orchestra.
The Russian violinist and French pianist have proved themselves a seasoned and stylish duo, with indispensable CDs of Ravel, Szymanowski and Schubert to prove it. For some time now, the pair has been immersed in study, performance and recording of the woefully underrated Mozart sonatas.
The second volume of these, in a budget-friendly double-disc set selling for single-disc price, explores quite a territory, from the eight-year-old composer's first published works to mature sonatas from two decades further on. These include the luminous A major work of K 402 with its richly textured Andante ma un poco Adagio and a beautifully handled fugal finale.
For me, it's the early works that are absolutely irresistible. Here we have the young Mozart flexing his musical muscles in Allegros that buzz with the energy of a toe-tapping Divertimento. Minuets, which would have been danced at the courts at which the boy wonder entertained, are caught with a sense of tongue-in-cheek ceremony alongside the tingle of rococo prettiness. One of them barely passes the two-minute mark.
Ibragimova and Tiberghien deliver performances that exude this joy of discovery. If the pianist's part inevitably dominates, it gleams with an elegant litheness. Around it, his partner's violin lines weave their own exquisite and sometimes forthright paths.
What: Mozart, Violin Sonatas (Hyperion, through Ode Records)
Verdict: A joyous coming together does justice to underrated classical gems