Friday, April 8, 2016

Domenico Scarlatti - Little-Known Harpsichord Sonatas Mayako Soné, Harpsichord - Apex/Warner 2007 re-release (Erato 1994)

I really adore Scarlatti's sonatas for harpsichord. Literally it is a treasure-trove as he wrote so many of them (550+, all for harpsichord except a handful for organ, and a few to be played on the fortepiano courtesy of it's inventor Bartolomeo Cristofori). Scarlatti's sonatas are short, single movement gems and are typically arranged/played in pairs or sets. The sonatas are played here with diamond-cut precision and elegance by Mayako Soné, one of the finest keyboardists that I'm aware of (check out her (J.S.) Bach recordings and you will hear what I'm talking about!). It is baffling then, that there are otherwise so few recordings of Soné's perspicacious artistry. Perhaps I should to do a bit of 'homework' but I'm most certain I have everything. The sonatas are presented here as Scarlatti's "Little-known" sonatas, however even the booklet notes speak of the indeterminate identity of the creator - I believe, going only by what I know of Scarlatti's personal and oft eccentric musical language, that many of these are indeed authentic. Some seem to be Solerian, and likely were penned by (guess who??!!) Soler, or a contemporary. Composed by "the Dom" or not, these gorgeous and esoteric sonatas are at the top of my "Scarlatti stack".

And Gramophone says: 

It's a bit daft of Erato to label this disc ''Unpublished sonatas'' when the publishers of eight of the present 14 are actually listed: if they meant 'recently discovered sonatas', why not say so? Apart from this, however, a certain scepticism is called for by the claim that these are by Scarlatti. A few may well be by him; the majority, to differing extents, are of doubtful authenticity; about three are most unlikely to be his. Can I make clear which is which, when of course they all fall outside the (already confusing) four different numbering systems (Longo, Kirkpatrick, Pestelli and Fadini)? 'Probables' are Henle's D major, which is a shorter version of the well-known cheerfully athletic Kk96, an engaging 'Lisbon' A major and two sonatas in the Catalonian Library (both with some typical key-shifts) that were once arranged by Granados.

The most convincing 'possibles' are the robustly exuberant Yale C major (which some experts attribute to Soler) and three sonatas (two of them longer than usual) found in Valladolid and published by UME in Madrid. The Fandango has been worked up by the player here from a sketch (an impression of Scarlatti's improvisation?) in a private collection in Tenerife: shorter than the famous example attributed to Soler but closely resembling it in style. It is played with tremendous gusto—like everything else on this disc—on a Blanchet copy by Mayako Sone, a young harpsichordist who is making quite a name for herself. Her experience as a continuo player (she is, among other things, a member of the Israel Chamber Orchestra) has doubtless been a contributory factor in her splendidly strong rhythmic sense; and her crisp articulation is a pleasure to hear. Regardless of the genuineness or not of these pieces, this is a very attractive disc.'

The boney-fingered wizard himself, "the Dom"

Actual portrait of Scarlatti composing these sonatas at his beloved Raphael harpsichord.

I hope everyone enjoys these sonatas as much as I do!


Anonymous said...

thank you. real beautiful sonatas!

Tzadik said...

Anon you are welcome, Ilove this disc!