One of the most grown-up review sites around


Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Shostakovich 4, 11 Nelsons
Transparent Granite!


Nothing but Praise


BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set


Telemann continues to amaze


A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition


Another Bacewicz winner


match any I’ve heard


An outstanding centenary collection


personable, tuneful, approachable


a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.


music that will be new to most people


telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded


hitherto unrecorded Latvian music

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757)
Complete Keyboard Sonatas - Volume 5
Parma Books 12-14 (1755-56)
Carlo Grante (Bosendörfer Imperial Piano)
rec. Studio Glanzing, Vienna, 2016
MUSIC AND ARTS CD-1294 [5 CDs: 382:15]

Carlo Grante’s systematic exploration of Scarlatti’s complete keyboard sonatas, one of the more Herculean recorded efforts of our time, has now reached volume 5. You can read a couple of my previous reviews here: Volume 1 and Volume 4.

The remarkable thing is there is no diminution of Grante’s pleasure in – or appetite for – presenting Scarlatti in this way to the public: in the freshness of the writing, in Scarlatti’s harmonies, his integration of Spanish dance rhythms, in his more outlandish devices, and in some of more extended and explicitly melancholy sonatas. In this 5-CD set we have the Parma manuscripts Books 12, 13 and 14, composed between 1755 and 1756; 90 sonatas in total. Grante’s extensive notes, which draw upon the work of scholars as well as his own practical and musicological experience, provide the perfect background for his performances on the ever-present Bosendörfer Imperial piano. And having Colin Tilney as artistic consultant is luxury casting.

Yet again it’s hard to pick highlights from this set and doing so is merely to suggest the consistent excellence of performances and recording. But I hope it also suggests the sheer variety to be heard in these sonata pairings, ones that reflect on each other in vital and interesting ways. So, amongst the very many aerial, avian and dance-patterned pleasures to be encountered you’ll find the cuckoo motif in Parma 12:1, the witty changes in 12:4, the rarefied, almost antique feel to the fugato in 12:5, the caprice Grante finds in a well-established recital favourite such as 12:9, the lively figuration of 12:11, the pensive 12:16 or the brilliantine rapidity of 12:17 (but with subtlety of voicings intact) and the dapper bass pointing that drives the dance patterning of 12:20.

If you want a charming pastoral Sicilienne turn to 12:25, so supple and perfectly weighted. If you prefer an accumulation of syncopation and canons try 12:26, or if your yen is to discover encoded references to Bach’s Partita No.3 in A minor, lend an ear to 12:30. Scarlatti often employed the Jota as you’ll hear in 13:11 (you won’t always need Falla for the Jota) and should Albéniz’s guitar evocations ever pall go back to the source with Parma 13:7. Scarlatti’s beloved asymmetry in some of these works is perhaps best exemplified in 13:8 which makes the succeeding sonata’s melancholia all the more striking. He was the master of conjunction, the prince of the harmonic or expressive surprise.

Parma 13:13 is another example of an extended slow movement packing a deep punch although 13:16 offers instead a heady quasi-improvisatory sonata replete with a mine-deep bass. You’ll find Classicism explored in 13:18 and a military cut to 13:24. The street-scene painting of 13:30, complete with cries and calls, is a potent example of characterisation and 14:4 is one of those tour-de-forces that enable Grante to bring the music vividly to life with the ultimate in brio. By contrast the long, songful 14:7 and the trumpet fanfares of 14:8 offer more by way of immediate contrast. Parma 14:8 reflects Scarlatti’s penchant for exploring Baroque procedure and in 14:23 he is positively skittish.

Grante is a tirelessly creative guide to this repertoire and in every way – performance, instrument, recording, and documentation - this volume lives up to the high standards set in the preceding four.

Jonathan Woolf

 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger