Domenico Scarlatti The Complete Sonatas Box set
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The 555 Keyboard Sonatas catalogued by Ralph Kirkpatrick plus 13 additional sonatas from unpublished manuscripts Richard Lester plays the majority of the sonatas on a copy of a 1785 harpsichord by Joachim José Antunes, with a selection of sonatas repeated on the fortepiano or organ. 9 CDs in high bite-rate MP3 format. Playable on MP3 compatible disc players and MP3 portable devices. Texts in English include a 10,000 word note on the works, plus 'Flamenco Sketches', an essay by Richard Lester, and an excel spreadsheet detailing each work by 'K' number, key and tempo. "Richard Lester's coverage of the complete Scarlatti keyboard sonatas is very impressive indeed. Lester's credentials are impeccable but, more importantly, he is obviously very enthusiastic about this repertoire and his spontaneous playing conveys that dedication. His style is admirably flexible and altogether most winning." The Penguin Guide
Top Customer Reviews
The advantage of MP3 encoded CDs are that they can store far more information than a conventional disc resulting, in the case of the new Scarlatti, in a reduction from 7 boxes of 38 CDs to 2 boxes of 9 MP3 discs. Thus shelf space is saved, and much greater accessibility is provided to a large corpus of music, since put simply, one doesn't have recourse to reloading discs as often.
Those with older CD players (and some maybe not so old) might like to try first if they can, as some machines may be resistant to MP3. A friends' mid 1990's Arcam Alpha didn't play ball, as did a barely 6 year old Marantz of mine. Yet a couple of my DVD machines (one quite elderly) responded favourably, and my NAD CD player had no problem. A SONY stereo SACD player meanwhile also proclaimed "no audio". Text-reading players incidentally are also very useful (though not from my experience essential), as the full read-out capability makes it just that bit easier to confidently identify tracks.
Also - as MP3 is a compressed medium doesn't quality suffer - like MD? Well frankly I believe my Hi-Fi equipment is pretty reasonable (albeit not esoteric), and I think I'm blessed with pretty good hearing and...... as in the MD debate....if I can discern a difference it seems pretty damn marginal. I compared Bowyer's Bach between CD and MP3....and now Lester's Scarlatti (as I'd previously purchased the conventional CDs) and I'm blowed if I can discern any meaningful variation.
Well .....Read more ›
All 555 Scarlatti Sonatas, plus numerous "Appendices and Diversities", AND six Continuo Sonatas? Now you're talking! This is a huge undertaking by the redoubtable Richard Lester, who certainly deserves a knighthood for accomplishing it, if not beatification!
It seriously is a magnificent achievement, and the best thing about it is that it has been realised with an exemplary balance between scholarship and performing flair. For a start, he has used, as far as I can ascertain, three different harpsichords, a fortepiano and two organs.
Lester has chosen what he feels to be the most appropriate instrument for each piece or group of pieces, and the boon for the listener is the avoidance of any suspicion of monotony.
It must be said though, that Scarlatti's sonatas themselves are so unfailingly varied and surprising that such monotony would be hard to come by. As I write this, I am barely halfway through the set - and I wouldn't recommend listening to too many of the CDs in one sitting - but I am finding it refreshing, entertaining and generally terrific. Just one example (out of nearly 600, ok, it's ridiculous!)that I happen to be listening to at the moment; K215 in E major. A conventional opening, with the strutting feel of a French Overture. Gradually the harmony darkens, until a truly astonishing passage with thick, gritty discords. Lester then sweetens the pill with a moment of harp (or lute?) registration. Just six and a half minutes or so, but a real piece of musical fantasy.
Not just a great achievement, but spectacular value too - works out at about £2.90 per CD if bought on this site! Scarlatti would have been furious........
The disca are playable on CD players compatible with MP3 files. Most modern CD players will play these, including car CD players. However, some older CD players will not play them and it would be sensible to check your manufacturer's literature. I have six CD players in various guises and only one would not play the discs. I had no problems transferring to an i-pod. However if you have a Brennan JB7 this may be more difficult. I tried several ploys to load discs and they all failed in spite of the Brennan using MP3 files. The compression rate is 320 kbps and thus minimally compressed and I certainly did not notice the compression.
A thoroughly complete package. This really does represent fantastic value for money.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful recording of much loved pieces. Lovely depth and a great interpretation of this music.Published 19 months ago by annedixon
An accurate and balanced performance by Richard Lester, I will not require any other versions.Published on 31 July 2014 by Dennis Robert Dartnell