Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonatas, Volume 1

Reviewed on Wed 13 Jun, 2018

Listen to KK 208, Adagio e cantabile daringly obeyed, tension maintained through passionately shaped phrases and sepulchral tones.

“Sonatas Volume 1” says Chandos. And 20 of the 555 originally written for harpsichord were first exposed on record by Wanda Landowska in 1935. Two years later, Robert Casadesus set out the case for a piano, creating an extended line from Kathleen Long to Vladimir Horowitz and Yevgeny Sudbin. Now here is the latest – with a difference. For an inkling, begin with KK 9 headed “Pastorale”. The tempo marking though is Allegro. Frederico Colli senses a contradiction; and using the sustaining power of the piano conjures an atmosphere far removed from that of Sudbin, whose clipped scamper also echoes harpsichord timbre. Inkling becomes certainty in KK 39 and KK 525, where Colli outclasses Horowitz (who set standards 54 years ago) in sheer dramatic diablerie. Then listen to KK 208, Adagio e cantabile daringly obeyed, tension maintained through passionately shaped phrases and sepulchral tones. It’s Scarlatti always profoundly, enthrallingly reassessed. By a new kid on the block.
–Nalen Anthoni