Vierne & Franck: Violin Sonatas (CD)

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Alina Ibragimova, Cédric Tiberghien

The Franck sonata - one of the best-loved works in the entire Romantic violin repertoire - is one of a trio of delectable Franco-Belgian treats on offer from the acclaimed pair. A bonne bouche from Lili Boulanger completes a particularly enticing recital.

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1. Poème élégiaque Op 12

Violin Sonata in A major 
2. Allegretto ben moderato
3. Allegro
4. Recitativo-Fantasia: Ben moderato
5. Allegretto poco mosso

6. Violin Sonata in G minor Op 23
7. Allegro risoluto
8. Andante sostenuto
9. Intermezzo: Quasi vivace
10. Largamente – Allegro agitato

LILI BOULANGER (1893–1918)
11. Nocturne

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For some reason there is a tradition of near-sightless musicians becoming fabled organist-composers, among them Cabezon, John Stanley, and in our time Jean Langlais and Louis Vierne. Vierne shared his mentor Franck’s ecclesiastical bent, becoming organist of Notre Dame, and it may be this apparent focus on the organ that has led to the neglect of his concert music—a fate which also befell his contemporary Widor. Despite being an almost-exact contemporary of Ravel, Vierne’s music is couched in a fairly conservative musical language. His Violin Sonata, recorded here alongside that of Franck by Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien, is a muscular work, with a perhaps unexpectedly broad range of moods, from the limpid Andanteto the flickering Intermezzo, but the stand-out is the powerful Allegro first movement. Ibragimova and Tiberghien complete their satisfying recital with a sizeable Poème by Ysäye—who premiered both the Franck and Vierne Sonatas—and a delightful Nocturne by the teenage Lili Boulanger, herself a Vierne pupil.

- Chris Dench, The Classical Music Collector