Baroque powerhouse Domenico Scarlatti – son of the great Alessandro Scarlatti and born in 1685, the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach and George Friderich Handel – wrote an enormous 555 keyboard sonatas. These were mostly to be performed on the harpsichord, although several sources suggest that he may have also written some for the fortepiano at the Spanish court, where he was employed from 1733. The universal appeal of these sonatas – containing Scarlatti’s trademark influence of Iberian folk music and dances – is such that they have been pushed beyond the boundaries of the intended instrument, and thus the recording also boasts performances of selected sonatas on the harp and accordion, bringing these wonderful sonatas into the 21st century.
Recordings of the keyboard sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti come and go. Reissues of those made in Paris in the 1930s by Wanda Landowska seem to be always with us. A recent reissue of 26 of them quickly earned a rarely-bestowed rosette in a prestigious CD guide, and the comment, "her playing has more character than that of most modern players put together; it is electrifying in its sheer vitality and imagination".
While Ivo Pogorelich established his reputation performing mainly Romantic repertoire, his few forays into the Baroque reveal him to be an equally engaging- if not eccentric musician here as well. In quicker movements, such as the opening Preludes of the English Suites for instance Pogorelich's rhythmic control and contrapuntal clarity are simply amazing. Slower movements likewise are handled with remarkable intensity and delicacy. Pogorelich's performances of four Scarlatti sonatas concluding the program as well are wonderfully animated and knowing.
…Well engineered, with production values that emphasize clarity and separation, this recording is highly recommended to all classical guitar students and fans, as well as anyone who appreciates baroque music in general and Scarlatti's music specifically.