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CD Review

Domenico Scarlatti

30 Keyboard Sonatas

  • Sonata in A minor, K. 3 (L. 378)
  • Sonata in F Major, K. 6 (L. 479)
  • Sonata in G Major, K. 14 (L. 387)
  • Sonata in D minor, K. 32 (L. 423)
  • Sonata in D Major, K. 45 (L. 265)
  • Sonata in D Major, K. 53 (L. 261)
  • Sonata in G Major, K. 105 (L. 204)
  • Sonata in F Major, K. 106 (L. 437)
  • Sonata in A minor, K. 109 (L. 138)
  • Sonata in C Major, K. 132 (L. 457)
  • Sonata in D Major, K. 145 (L. 369)
  • Sonata in D Major, K. 161 (L. 417)
  • Sonata in A minor, K. 175 (L. 429)
  • Sonata in F minor, K. 184 (L. 189)
  • Sonata in E Flat Major, K. 193 (L. 142)
  • Sonata in E Major, K. 206 (L. 257)
  • Sonata in E Major, K. 215 (L. 323)
  • Sonata in G Major, K. 283 (L. 318)
  • Sonata in C Major, K. 327 (L. 152)
  • Sonata in E Major "Cortège", K. 380 (L. 23)
  • Sonata in G Major, K. 391 (L. 79)
  • Sonata in E minor, K. 402 (L. 427)
  • Sonata in C Major, K. 407 (L. S4)
  • Sonata in G Major, K. 427 (L. 286)
  • Sonata in D Major, K. 443 (L. 418)
  • Sonata in F minor, K. 466 (L. 118)
  • Sonata in C Major, K. 487 (L. 205)
  • Sonata in D Major, K. 490 (L. 206)
  • Sonata in E Major, K. 496 (L. 372)
  • Sonata in A minor, K. 532 (L. 223)
John Browning, piano
Nimbus NI2544 71m DDD
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Up to four decades ago, Domenico Scarlatti was regarded as one of those lightweight composer of the baroque era whose main life's work was to churn out one sonata after another, either for keyboard or specifically harpsichord and whose level of originality and invention was to say the least, scant.

But the epic study of the composer by Ralph Kirkpatrick changed this gross misconception and today, the Italian giant is universally accepted as one of the greatest and most innovative artists of his time. What is it then about Scarlatti's music that makes a recording of these works so appealing? His enormous expressive range is certainly one of his fortes. Compare the ethereal intimacy of K. 32 to the almost wildly mad strumming of K. 175 and you have the answer.

One other feature is his element of surprise within one and the same piece. The K. 409 begins with a certain courtly elegance but soon the mood changes into a heartfelt lament. Scarlatti's music is also enriched by a rare virtuosic language which conveys an emotional intensity of rare beauty.

This wonderful collection, originally released in 1994 on MusicMasters, was selected and stunningly performed by John Browning and immerses the listener into this fascinating and often sublime world of Scarlatti's keyboard music with total immediacy. The wholehearted advocacy by Browning should win the composer many new friends. Keyboard buffs should not miss out, but others less familiar with this repertoire should not fear to take the plunge either.

Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech

Trumpet