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.
In Domenico Scarlatti’s vast output of 555 keyboard sonatas, there are a small number of works that are especially interesting to musicologists because of characteristics such as figured bass, three‐ or four‐movement structure, and distinctive melodic lines that are particularly appropriate for a highpitched solo instrument. Some experts believe that these works were written for the violin; on this recording, after meticulous research and the discovery of an important new manuscript at the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal in Paris, the members of Artemandoline propose the fascinating theory that the sonatas may have been composed for the mandolin. Featuring works ranging from the smaller‐scale K77 to the ambitious and technically demanding K88 – which is extremely well suited to the mandolin thanks to its four‐part chords and dynamic nuances – this disc offers a radical reinterpretation of this captivating music.
First and foremost, Domenico Scarlatti is regarded as the greatest composer of binary harpsichord sonatas of all time, and that is as it should be: he wrote more than 600 of them and many are constantly recorded and played. However, early in his Italian career, Scarlatti developed a proven track record as a composer of sacred music, some of it under the watchful eye of his father, Alessandro Scarlatti, believed by many at the time as the top composer of the age. The fact most readily observed in regard to Domenico's sacred music is that his Stabat mater, composed in 1717 or 1718, was the work within that genre replaced in Rome by Giovanni Pergolesi's Stabat mater around 1735. The Scarlatti work was conceived in a different style to different strictures; while it has become the most recorded of Scarlatti's sacred works, it definitely suffers when paired with the Pergolesi owing to its immediacy and familiarity. On Coro's Iste Confessor, the Sixteen led by Harry Christophers widely opt for Scarlatti's own, other sacred music as filler to the "Stabat mater with results fairer to the composer and quite favorable to listeners.
The son of Alessandro Scarlatti, who created a new school of opera in Naples, Domenico Scarlatti is particularly distinguished for his remarkable keyboard sonatas, of which some 555 are known. This significant addition to early 18th century keyboard repertoire was written for performance on the various keyboard instruments of the Spanish court, where he was employed for many years, and in all their variety have long provided a valuable repertoire for pianists. Volumes 1–13 available.
He ignored every rule of traditional composition in order to achieve the effect his music should have; the number of voices changes arbitrarily, parallel octaves and fifths abound, all according to the vigorous, elemental force of his inspiration.
The complete oeuvre runs to 38 CDs, which will now be packaged in seven boxes. Some may mistrust any classical project that describes itself with the word "marathon," but the endless variety of Scarlatti's sonatas compels the skeptic to make an exception; a complete set turns up any number of deliciously bizarre pieces like the Sonata in A minor, K. 3, from the Essercizi per gravicembalo (CD 1, track 3), with its cascades of five-note runs meandering out into strange chromatic lines.