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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
8
D. Scarlatti : Sonatas
Format: MP3 Download|Change
Price:£4.99

on 20 February 2011
After his superlative recordings of Rameau, Couperin and Bach it was, perhaps, entirely logical for Alexandre Tharaud to turn his attention to their contemporary, Scarlatti. This is especially the case as Scarlatti's music, perhaps, is most suited to playing on the modern piano.

The present recording certainly does not disappoint. Tharaud's playing is clear, beautifully modulated with a wonderful chiaroscuro and interplay of foreground and background. The melancholy side of Scarlatti is deeply moving, while the virtuosic music is scintillating and there is real resonance and depth in appropriate passages that makes some sonatas quite exciting. Everything is beautifully phrased and finely judged. Just listen - in Sonata K72 - for instance to the way in which a phrase is made to suddenly leap out of the texture in the right hand, followed by a complementary pharase in the left hand bass contrasting with the even balance between in the two-part harmony up to this point. Note how the 'crushing' harmonies - in K29 - with their abundance of appogiaturas and suspensions convey both pathos and forward drive; the dynamics finely varied each time this particular passage re-occurs.

If you want one recording of a selection of Scarlatti sonatas, I would heartily recommend this one. Then go and buy Alexandre Tharaud's recordings of Couperin and Rameau too and prepare to be bowled over!Like looking in to Chapman's Homer!
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on 12 September 2017
As an avid listener and a reviewer, I can only report what I hear, even if in this case what I hear strays a bit from what others seem to be hearing. I have listened to this CD on not a few occasions over the past several years, hoping that at some point it would gel for me and I'd find myself enjoying Tharaud's approach to Scarlatti--as in fact I do in the K8 G minor sonata. The sense of subdued, controlled grief ('after great pain, a formal feeling comes'), as expressed in that sonata in Scarlatti's concise and inimitable style, is here revealed as one of the composer's masterpieces. I'm not certain I sense the same kind of security--stylistically or pianistically--in Tharaud's playing that I hear in the finest Scarlatti interpreters such as Anne Queffelec, and I really hope to hear this sonata played by other pianists. Nevertheless, if any of the sonatas on this disc could be compared to hers, it is this one, and I've listened to it countless times.

That's Tharaud at his best; at his worst, as in the K72 C major sonata that precedes it, the results are disappointing. In the hopping, skipping notes for the right hand--which would seem to express humor and high spirits--Tharaud employs an overly-loud, hard, percussive touch that produces an unpleasant tone and effect. And frequently on this disc Tharaud's sense of style or touch similarly jangles the nerves by being odd or somehow out of touch with Scarlatti's idiom.

Anne Queffelec, on the Erato or Warner label, does Scarlatti beautifully, appropriately sensing how Scarlatti's style ought to be adapted for the piano and exploring fully all the moods of his music.
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#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 3 June 2015
This excellent disc is now available at mid-price: Scarlatti: 18 Sonatas

This is a terrific recording. I love Scott Ross's and Christophe Rousset's recordings on the harpsichord and, after a long search, I am delighted finally to have found a performance of Scarlatti on the piano which I really like.

These pieces form a small selection from Scarlatti's huge output of well over 500 keyboard sonatas. They are very well chosen to give an excellent variety, from the energetically vigorous to the deeply contemplative and the programme as a whole is very rewarding. It is Tharaud's playing, though, which makes this disc something special. He uses the piano's expressive ability to bring out all the depth and nuance in the music with just enough rubato and dynamic variation to show exactly what Scarlatti means in each sonata without using over-emotional gestures which obscure the music and overlay it with misplaced romanticism. His ornamentation is similarly beautifully judged.

This is, I think, exemplary playing of Baroque music on a modern piano. With lovely recorded sound, good notes and attractive presentation this is an excellent disc all round. It has been a revelation to me and has become a firm favourite. Very warmly recommended.
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#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 2 November 2012
I agree completely with the enthusiastic reviews here - this is a terrific recording. I love Scott Ross's and Christophe Rousset's recordings on the harpsichord and, after a long search, I am delighted finally to have found a performance of Scarlatti on the piano which I really like.

These pieces form a small selection from Scarlatti's huge output of well over 500 keyboard sonatas. They are very well chosen to give an excellent variety, from the energetically vigorous to the deeply contemplative and the programme as a whole is very rewarding. It is Tharaud's playing, though, which makes this disc something special. He uses the piano's expressive ability to bring out all the depth and nuance in the music with just enough rubato and dynamic variation to show exactly what Scarlatti means in each sonata without using over-emotional gestures which obscure the music and overlay it with misplaced romanticism. His ornamentation is similarly beautifully judged.

This is, I think, exemplary playing of Baroque music on a modern piano. With lovely recorded sound, good notes and attractive presentation this is an excellent disc all round. It has been a revelation to me and has become a firm favourite. Very warmly recommended.
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on 1 July 2014
Very nice interpretation of some of Scarlatti's sonatas. All are very listenable. A good selection of slower and quicker tempo pieces.
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on 15 January 2016
Really fine disc. Sublime music, well recorded & good notes. Recommended
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Alexandre Tharaud is, for me, this year's discovery, now up there with Argerich, Pollini, Gilels, and Uchida: dazzling clarity in technique, a feel for structure and the deep human resonances of the music, and all superbly served by his engineers. K8 in G minor is a particular joy.
Scarlatti is not quite one of the great indispensables - Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin - but he is a considerable artist. Merci, Maitre Tharaud.
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on 27 August 2015
A man at home.
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