ALINA Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien have an international reputation as one of the best violin and piano duos in the world.

Their concert at the King’s Hall on Wednesday, April 11 was simply a wonderful demonstration of how two players – each virtuosi on their own instrument – can come together in a musical partnership.

Before playing all three of Brahms’ violin sonatas they chose to play the three short Romances which Clara Schumann wrote for herself and Joachim to play and which, they admitted, they had only just learnt!

Immediately it was clear that Ilkley Concert Club members were in for a real treat.

Ibragimova’s playing was supple with lusciously dark low notes and the lightest of trills in the bird-like passages of the second Romance: Tiberghien a supreme accompanist, never intrusive unless the piano line needed to be heard and with beautifully precise articulation.

With the Brahms sonatas we entered into darker territory but still retaining the lightness and brightness of the Schumann.

Ibragimova was true to Brahms’ markings at the beginning of the first sonata – a true piano, rarely heard, but wonderfully right.

There was exciting bravura playing too, with the octaves, so typical of the composer, ringing out as they should. All her playing is deeply felt with nothing done simply for effect but always part of the musical argument.

She seems the leader in the partnership but Tiberghien is vital to its success. He drew both mysterious dark sonorities and feather-light high notes from the piano. Always one felt that one was eavesdropping on private music-making of the highest order.

The very different characters of the three sonatas were well distinguished. The lively dance music and the song-like qualities were brought to the fore in the second sonata.

The playful fragmentation of the scherzo and the stormy mood of the finale of the third were equally memorable.

The packed hall responded with long and sustained applause at the end, well satisfied, for we had had our encore at the beginning!

by Chris Skidmore