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CD Review

Domenico Scarlatti

Complete Keyboard Sonatas

Volume 12
  • Sonata in E Flat Major, K.193/L.142/P.254
  • Sonata in A Major, K.368/L.S30/P.506
  • Sonata in D Major, K.335/L.S10/P.339
  • Sonata in F minor, K.387/L.175/P.415
  • Sonata in F Major, K.151/L.330/P.238
  • Sonata in G Major, K.547/L.S28/P.551
  • Sonata in A Major, K.323/L.95/P.411
  • Sonata in C Major, K.309/L.454/P.333
  • Sonata in F minor, K.185/L.173/P.121
  • Sonata in F minor, K.186/L.72/P.46
  • Sonata in E Major, K.163/L.63/P.206
  • Sonata in G Major, K.425/L.333/P.426
  • Sonata in G minor, K.426/L.128/P.128
  • Sonata in G minor, K.93/L.336/P.38
  • Sonata in C Major, K.330/L.55/P.222
  • Sonata in F Major, K.257/L.169/P.138
  • Sonata in E Major, K.381/L.225/P.327
  • Sonata in G Major, K.241/L.180/P.431
  • Sonata in F Major, K.469/L.431/P.514
Gerda Struhal, piano
Naxos 8.570745
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I have previously reviewed the first eight volumes in this Naxos series here, and then unaccountably went AWOL on Nos. 9, 10 and 11. This one by Viennese pianist Gerda Struhal is among the best I've heard in this or any series. Her dynamics are always well judged, her tempos somewhat on the brisk side – which in Scarlatti is a good thing – her articulation generally clear, her technique clean and her interpretations well conceived. She plays the leadoff work here, the perky Sonata in E flat, K. 193, with such spirit and joy that you know instantly you're listening to a subtle musician, fully sensitive to the brighter side of Scarlatti. The Sonata in F minor, K. 185 (track 9), divulges the darker side of the composer, and here Struhal is just as effective, catching the loneliness and sense of desolation in this touching work. Elsewhere, she delivers the Sonata in G minor K. 93 (track 14), a four-part fugue and the earliest work here, with a deft sense for the music's mixture of glory and agitation, its spirit of drive and determination. Perhaps the Sonata in G minor, K. 426 (track 13), is the only work here that is not a complete success: Struhal is atmospherically effective, alright, but seems to overplay the work's start-and-stop character, its elongated rests and Andante marking, imparting a slightly laborious character to the music's flow. Still, the performance may well convey much of the feeling and mood Scarlatti wanted.

Like other discs in this series, this one presents the sonatas in no particular order and offers a mixture of the popular and little known. To Scarlatti admirers and, for that matter, lovers of Baroque keyboard music, this CD is most desirable. The sound reproduction is excellent and Keith Anderson's notes are, as usual, highly enlightening. Recommended.

Copyright © 2010, Robert Cummings