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Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757)
Sonatas - Volume 2 
Sonata in D Major Kk491 [5.53]
Sonata in D Major Kk492 [4.07]
Sonata in G Major Kk146 [3.39]
Sonata in B Minor Kk377 [3.16]
Sonata in A Major Kk24 [4.51]
Sonata in E Major Kk206 [9.26]
Sonata in A Major Kk428 [2.01]
Sonata in A Major Kk429 [4.54]
Sonata in G Major 'Capriccio' Kk63 [2.16]
Sonata in D Minor 'Gavota' Kk64 [2.00]
Sonata in G Minor Kk426 [7.09]
Sonata in G Major Kk547 [4.16]
Sonata in E Flat Major Kk474 [6.21]
Sonata in C Minor Kk58 [3.46]
Sonata in C Major Kk513 [5.31]
Sonata in F Major Kk82 [2.50]
Sonata in F Minor Kk481 [6.53]
Angela Hewitt (piano)
rec. Beethovensaal, Hanover, 2017
Reviewed as 16-bit lossless download from Hyperion
HYPERION CDA68184 [79:14]

Robert Beattie has given this a comprehensive review, to which I direct your attention. I’d like to add a few comments, which differ somewhat in specifics to Robert’s, though our overall, conclusions are similar.

Angela Hewitt’s Bach series for Hyperion is one of the treasures in my collection, one that I return to regularly. I also greatly enjoy her Couperin and Rameau recordings. However, I was less enthused by her first Scarlatti volume – perhaps I was expecting too much. Nevertheless, my respect for her was such that I couldn’t not give her Scarlatti a second chance.

The first track on this, Kk491, is one of the best known Scarlatti sonatas, and my personal favourite. Murray Perahia’s performance of it on his 1997 Handel/Scarlatti recording for Sony is quite wonderful. Unfortunately, I found myself grimacing after just a few bars here: Hewitt adopts a quite slow tempo, which I found more than a little mannered. Robert Beattie felt that it portrayed the pageantry of the piece very successfully, an interpretation outlined in Hewitt’s as always thoughtful booklet notes. The score I have simply says Allegro, and while I can hear what she means, I feel that it works better in Perahia’s treatment.

So it looked as though as I was in for more disappointment. However, the next track, coincidentally with the following Kirkpatrick number, restored my faith. The verve and panache missing from Kk491 was here in full measure. Even better was to come - Kk24, 426 & 547 are real highlights - indeed the slow 426 could be Scarlatti’s “black pearl” to borrow the name given to Variation 25 in the Goldbergs.

Hewitt’s Scarlatti is, of course, very different to that of Horowitz, Pletnev or Sudbin, who take the Baroque rhythms and inject Romantic dynamics and expression. She maintains the Baroque sensibilities, but with the depth of sound from the modern piano. Her Fazioli sounds as good as ever, and the other production aspects are the usual house standard, that is to say, exemplary.

Even allowing for my caveat with Kk491, all the grace and elegance that one has come to expect with Angela Hewitt’s Baroque recordings is here. I am certainly hoping for Volume 3.

David Barker

Previous review: Robert Beattie



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