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Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757)
Keyboard Sonatas
Arranged for violin and basso continuo by Lionel Salter
Sonata No. 1 K73/L217 in C minor [6:31]
Sonata No. 2 K77/L168 in D minor [4:52]
Sonata No. 8 K91/L176 in G major [8:07]
Sonata No. 4 K81/L271 in E minor [8:48]
Sonata No. 7 K90/L106 in D minor [9:10]
Sonata No. 3 K78/L75 in F major [2:50]
Sonata No. 5 K88/L36 in G minor [9:06]
Sonata No. 6 K89/L211 in D minor [6:24]
Julian Olevsky (violin), Fernando Valenti (harpsichord)
rec. 1955, originally issued on Westminster LP XWN 18113. Mono

Although he spent a good proportion of his life in America, Julian Olevsky (1926-1985) was born in Berlin. His father was a professional violinist and was responsible for his son’s early lessons. In 1935 the family moved to Buenos Aires, where they remained for about twelve years. Here Julian took lessons from Aaron Klasse and Alexander Petschnikoff, both former pupils of Leopold Auer. In 1947 he relocated to the United States, making his New York debut at Town Hall in 1949. This was followed a year later by his Carnegie Hall debut. In 1967 he took up a teaching position at the University of Massachusetts, remaining there until his premature death from a heart attack in 1985, aged fifty-nine. His sparse discography is confined mainly to the Westminster label and includes, in addition to these Scarlatti Sonatas, Handel's Op. 1 Violin Sonatas, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, the Mendelssohn and Bruch Concertos, Wieniawski’s Second Concerto and Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas.

Domenico Scarlatti did his fair share of travelling. He was born in Naples but gravitated for long spells towards Spain and Portugal. He's best known today for his 555 keyboard sonatas, resourceful compositions instilled with vibrant colour, exotic rhythms and dazzling display. In 1947, the harpsichordist Lionel Salter identified a group of sonatas with figured basses inscribed under the bass part, and went on to arrange them for violin and basso continuo. These are the arrangements that Julian Olevsky plays in partnership with Fernando Valentini on the harpsichord.

The sonatas range from No. 3 in F major, which is under three minutes in length, to No. 7 in D minor, the most substantial at 9:10. This latter work is probably the finest of the set. An elegant Grave precedes an animated Allegro. A refined, polite Giga comes next, with the sonata ending with a buoyant Allegro.

Olevsky's interpretations are stylish and imaginative. Ornamentation is idiomatic and intelligently applied. Phrasing is flexible, articulate and germane. The harpsichord is fairly recessed in the balance, with the violin sharply profiled.

Stephen Greenbank

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