3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Naxos's series that will eventually comprise all of the Scarlatti keyboard sonatas on the piano is featuring a different pianist for each volume. With Volume 7 we reach the work of one of Naxos's house pianists--I almost feel it's a dismissal to call him that, which is not what I intend; I think he's a wonderful pianist--and already this new release has caused some minor controversy among Scarlatti mavens. One critic I know has taken Scherbakov to task for muting his left hand in these performances. In another forum I have discussed this with him and will here explain why I like what he has done.
First of all, Scherbakov does not simply reduce the volume of his left hand across the board. His left hand tends to play out in those passages where there is an important contrapuntal voice to get across. But in those passages where the left hand is primarily providing harmonic underpinning--and this tends primarily to be in the slower, softer sonatas--he does indeed hold back a bit, although it also needs to be said that this is not just a generic softening, but playing that includes sensitive phrasing and dynamic control as well. Overall, it is true, Scherbakov takes a very pianistic approach to these works and, further, he tends to use rather more romantic dynamics and phrasings that a harpsichordist or some other pianists would use. From my point of view this is appropriate and attractive, but of course that's a matter of differing tastes.
I don't know who has decided which sonatas will go on which pianists's CD, but they are certainly mixed and matched. In general the pattern is slow-fast-slow-fast as well as coupling sonatas that are either in the same key or in related major/minor keys, but not in the usual Longo, Kirkpatrick or Pestelli couplings. This is fine by me. It's rather like what Graham Johnson did when he arranged his huge traversal, on Hyperion, of all the Schubert songs. I wonder if when we get to the end of this mammoth undertaking there will, as in Johnson's arrangement, some tag ends that don't exactly match each other. No matter. This is a fine disc played by a virtuosic pianist and I find it eminently satisfying, if not quite up to the very finest Scarlatti playing available (Horowitz, Weissenberg, Babayan et al.).
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Hailed at a Lucerne Festival as a modern Rachmaninov and with an equally phenomenal piano technique, Konstantin Scherbakov gives his attention here to some of the sparer, gently rustling keyboard works of Domenico Scarlatti. Indeed, some of the sonatas he has chosen (for example K 291) are two-part writing of the simplest - at least he makes it sound so. Dynamics are skilfully shaded and contrasted, providing more light and shade than would be possible if the instrument were a harpsichord.
All the sonatas in this 64 minute CD are in binary form (comprised of two halves). Scherbakov always repeats the first halves but not always the second halves. As with earlier volumes in this Naxos series, the Kirkpatrick pairing of sonatas has been abandoned, a practice I do not regret. Scherbakov has selected many Scarlatti sonatas new to my own extensive CD collection, several marked andante being mixed with the greater proportion of fast moving pieces.
There's hours of fascination here, for a payment of very few dollars.