A Scarlatti recital with a twist. Joseph Moog has assembled a fascinating survey of Scarlatti sonatas, and included a selection of the 18th-century master s works as re-composed by some of the giants of the piano keyboard from the 19th and 20th centuries. The drama contained in Scarlatti s short one-movement sonatas has always exerted a hold over both musicians and listeners since their composition. The development of the piano in the 19th century provided too great a temptation for composer pianist Carl Tausig, a rival of Chopin and star pupil of Liszt (and admired by Brahms and Wagner) to ignore these works. He, along with Ignaz Friedman (1882 1948) exploited drama and poetry in Scarlatti s music, using the new grand piano to its full extent. Friedman was a pianist of extraordinary gifts, and a musical freedom that some thought bordered on the eccentric. Walter Gieseking s fantastical composition on a theme by Scarlatti forms the centrepiece of Moog s recital. Gieseking (1895 1956) was a child prodigy, playing all 32 Beethoven sonatas from memory at the age of 15: 'The most difficult part was memorising them," he said, adding "and that wasn t very difficult.' Gieseking s 'Chaconne on a theme by Scarlatti' is a stupendous work of dazzling virtuosity.
have a feeling we re going to hear much more of Moog ... he has an original turn of mind and an impressive technique. The music is never less than unexpected, with an occasional wistful quirk that hints at might-have-beens. Contrary to the usual rules, this album could be a career-making release. ALBUM OF THE WEEK --Norman Lebrecht, Sinfini Music 4 February 2013
Great pianists have often been fascinated by baroque music, and have sought to bring it up to date through transcriptions. Until now I had not heard such versions of Scarlatti sonatas, however, and their full-blown orchestral textures are quite a shock. The young German pianist Joseph Moog makes the surprise greater (perhaps not to the benefit of the arrangements) by interspersing them with taut, concise original sonatas. He features versions by Carl Tausig and Ignaz Friedman, both of whom amplify Scarlatti rather stylishly, but Walter Gieseking's fantastical Chaconne is a nightmare. Moog's bright, sharp pianism sounds better in the originals: the arrangements need more gentle, rounded warmth. --Nicholas Kenyon, The Observer 3 February 2013
... you will surely delight at such enterprise and performances as finely shaded and imaginative as they are dexterous .... Finely recorded. --Bryce Morrison, Gramophone May 2013
'...This is truly imaginative programming, stunningly delivered' --International Piano
[Moog s] well-balanced singing tone is always enchanting. It s hard to find any faults with this Scarlatti cornucopia. --Pianist Magazine