Scarlatti: Sonatas for keyboard – D minor, K213; D minor, K141; E major, K531; B minor, K27; A minor, K175; E major, K381; D major, K492; Cage: Sonatas & Interludes for prepared piano – XIV & XV (Gemini), XIII, XI, I, XII, XVI & V

Reviewed on Fri 13 Jun, 2014

David Greilsammer here alternates some of Italian Domenico Scarlatti’s amazing harpsichord Sonatas with a selection from John Cage’s Sonatas & Interludes for prepared piano. Scarlatti (1685-1757) wrote 555 pieces for harpsichord. It seems that each is miraculous, ranging from gently lyrical (heart-touching) to coruscating (exhilarating). The invention is ceaselessly fascinating, and each could have been written for the piano. Greilsammer brings both a gentle touch and, when required, pulverising accents to these wondrous and brilliant works with playing both affectionate and as imaginative as the music itself. As for the pieces of New Yorker John Cage (1912-92), it was his idea to place different objects between the strings of a piano. The sounds produced are beguilingly bell-like and transporting, the rhythms often choreographic in their inventiveness. However you listen – in Greilsammer’s Scarlatti/Cage sequence, programming one or other composer, or pressing the ‘random’ button – this release is a beautifully recorded treat.
–Colin Anderson