Soler: Sol de mi fortuna – Harpsichord Sonatas from the Morgan Libary

Reviewed on Fri 26 Feb, 2016

Padre Antonio Soler may not have written as many Sonatas for the harpsichord as Domenico Scarlatti, or matched his brilliant imagination, but all the music here is likeable and enjoyable.

This 73-minute CD consists of 26 tracks, a mix of Preludio, Canon and (mostly) Sonata; nothing is longer than five minutes. Padre Antonio Soler (1729-1783), “the devil dressed as a monk”, may not have written as many Sonatas for the harpsichord as Domenico Scarlatti, or matched his brilliant imagination, but all the music here is likeable and enjoyable. It is played with unimpeachable virtuosity and musicianship by Diego Ares on a bright and powerful 2009 instrument modelled on a 1734 harpsichord by Mirabal. Its growly bass notes are attractive, so too the clarion calls of the treble. It could not be more vividly recorded than here (although one does need to tame the volume somewhat). What makes this recital all the more pleasurable is that Ares plays these works as a continuous sequence: once you start you are in for the duration, and very compelling and enlightening it is too.
–Colin Anderson