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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars After a Long Wait, Another Fine Issue in the Naxos Scarlatti Series, 23 Mar 2007
J Scott Morrison (Middlebury VT, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Scarlatti: Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 8 (Audio CD)
It has been two long years since the last issue in this ongoing series from Naxos which, when finished, will have recorded -- on the piano -- all 555 of Scarlatti's sonatas (or, as he called them, 'Essercizi'), each CD recorded by a different pianist. So far we have had recordings by Jeno Jändö, Benjamin Frith, Konstantin Scherbakov, Evgeni Zarafiants, Michael Lewin, Beatrice Long and Eteri Andjaparidze. All of these are fine, although I was less impressed with that of Ms Long than with the others. And each is different. One could argue that it might have been better for Naxos to have had one pianist record all the sonatas, as Scott Ross did on harpsichord before his untimely death, but Naxos's approach has value, not the least of which is the opportunity to hear how differently these protean works can be played.

The Scarlatti sonatas are like snowflakes; each is symmetrical but utterly unique and thus discernibly different from its fellow sonatas. They seem alike on superficial inspection but closer scrutiny reveals the differences which make one all the more admiring of Scarlatti's art. One can never exhaust the process of discovering delights in these works.

Soyeon Lee is a twenty-something Korean pianist not previously known to me (as has been the case with several of the other pianists in this series). She is a graduate of the Juilliard School, having studied with Jerome Lewenthal and Robert McDonald and is a multiple prizewinner. Her playing has delicacy and poetry but is capable of power and crisp articulation. It is clear that she has thought carefully about every note she plays here. One can detect an intellect guiding her pristine technique. She is given some of the more obscure sonatas to record, but is rewarded by getting one of the most familiar of them all, the one in D major K96 which, surely not by chance, falls precisely at the center of her recital. I compared her playing of this familiar work with recordings by John Browning, Vladimir Horowitz and Alexis Weissenberg. (I would have compared it with that of Mikhail Pletnev but, darn it, that CD is on loan to a friend.) Her way with this sonata stands up nicely in those direct comparisons. Her tone is rounded, her phrasing more legato than some but counterbalanced by a keen rhythmic sense so that the line does not become soggy. Among the less familiar sonatas I was impressed by the suppressed but real emotion in K466 in F minor and by the joyous brilliance in K101 in A major. (It is of note that the symmetry of Scarlatti's works is mirrored in the arrangement of this recital which begins and ends with sonatas in A major.)

This issue is a keeper. And Soyeon Lee is a young pianist at the beginning of a career to watch.

Scott Morrison
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 15 Jan 2013
J. Gardiner "john70075" (Middlesbrough, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Scarlatti: Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 8 (Audio CD)
Well played and recorded. Good price. Fully up to the standard of this great series. Many sonatas have pleasant surprises with tempi different to the usual.
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Scarlatti: Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 8
Scarlatti: Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 8 by Domenico Scarlatti (Audio CD - 2007)
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