Violin Intergalactic

Alina 2006

I heard Russian born violinist Alina Ibragimova, age 27, last Saturday at the Seattle Symphony, playing the Beethoven violin concerto, followed by four standing ovations and an encore of Bach’s Andante from the Sonata #2 in A Minor for solo violin.

I was already familiar with Ms. Ibragimova’s playing from her sublime recording of the complete Bach sonatas and partitas. I loved the elegance, restrained passion and unique warmth of her interpretations and had already placed her in my “Intergalactic” category of Bach interpreters.

But I was unprepared for the intensity and palpable sensuousness of her live musical presence.

Onstage, she is like a luminous, hypnosis inducing asteroid benignly touched down to earth from a far away galaxy, radiating iridescent color and sound. She brought every phrase of the Beethoven to completion with mesmerizing grace and focus, with nothing superfluous added. No barrier existed between the composer's thoughts,  Alina's thoughts, and the silken voice of the violin wood. Leaning into her instrument, she brought forth a living presence from all contributors to the final musical statement.  She is among the rare musicians who place “service to the music” above a tiresome and artificial “Diva” projection.

Watching her sway, almost crouch and then slowly reach upwards with her violin like a svelte cat leaning towards a caress, I could not help smiling. I kept thinking of the famous Bulgarian musician who came for a professional massage therapy session with one of my friends. He did not speak English, so his wife sat in the room with him to help translate as he was being treated.  At the end of the session, my therapist friend heard an audible sigh coming from the musician, so she asked his wife how the the massage went. After a brief conversation in Bulgarian with her husband, the woman nodded her head, smiled, and replied emphatically, ”He purr like cat!”

A week after Alina's concert I still feel contented and enriched remembering her standing four rows in front of me onstage, almost glowing in her intergalactic blue silk dress, the last notes of the Bach encore fading to silence.   I am still shaking my head in disbelief and now offer only the simplest and most straightforward of reviews:  

“She play like cat!”

For more information about Ms. Ibragimova, visit her website.

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This page contains a single entry by Sandra Dean published on June 6, 2013.

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