The astonishing technical variety and wide emotional range contained in Domenico Scarlatti’s keyboard sonatas make each and every encounter a rewarding adventure in which the listener is seldom left untouched. This is Pierre Hantaï’s third solo disc of Scarlatti’s sonatas though only the second in his current series for the Mirare label. It contains several pieces less frequently performed than others and with which many readers may find themselves unfamiliar. The first item, in fact, is one of only seven sonatas of Scarlatti’s that is a straightforward fugue. It is an uncharacteristically didactic piece, even a shade austere compared to the rest of Hantaï’s recital which contains a kaleidoscope of colourful images. What Hantaï seems to be emphasising in his choice is that elusive, somewhat abstracted improvisatory quality present in so many of the pieces and of which the Sonata in E major K 215 provides a well-sustained example. Generally speaking, Hantaï follows Ralph Kirkpatrick’s suggestion that Scarlatti probably intended to group his sonatas into pairs or occasionally threes according to key.
In the Baroque period, there really was no such thing as an "orchestra" as we understand the term today. There were large collections of singers and players brought together for special occasions, but aside from those, an "orchestral" work was anything that required more than five or six players. Bach's harpsichord concertos, for example, can be performed by a couple of dozen string players plus the soloist, or with an accompaniment of one person per part, which is more or less what we get here. These small forces permit an unprecedented transparency of sound and sharpness of attack, even if some weight and body of tone necessarily get sacrificed. It's a perfectly legitimate way to play the music, however, and you won't find it better done than here.
The piano repertoire occupies a central position in Deutsche Grammophon’s long, distinguished history. Almost from the beginning, the yellow label has been home to established keyboard luminaries and promising newcomers alike. Born between 1895 and 1991, the 32 pianists presented alphabetically in this set, encompass a wide range of performing styles, aesthetic orientations, and composer affinities.
Es ist üblich geworden, dass aufstrebende Countertenöre versuchen, mit dem Repertoire berühmter Kastraten des 18. Jahrhunderts auf sich aufmerksam zu machen. Der aus St. Petersburg stammende Dmitry Egorov hat sich dafür Nicolo Grimaldi alias Nicolini ausgesucht: ein Sänger, der seine Karriere als Sopranist unter Alessandro Scarlatti in Neapel startete und seine nachhaltigsten Erfolge als Altist und Hauptdarsteller in Händels Londoner Opern feierte…
From the notes: 'In his later years Monteux came to resent being labeled "a French conductor" and being asked to program mostly French music. (His favorite composer was Brahms, followed by Wagner.) As he told Ross Parmenter of The New York Times, "… Debussy didn't exist when I was educated. Neither did Ravel. I was brought up on Haydn, Mozart, and a little Brahms. I have learned the French since. But I am not a French conductor. I'm just a conductor". Yet his rapport with Debussy was very great. He said that Debussy had little patience for those who performed his music in an overly delicate and perfumed manner Debussy rehected the term "impressionism" as applied to his music, and said, according to Monteux, "When I write forte, I mean forte". In the three Images and Jeux Monteux takes the composer at his word, and achieves great transparency of textures without undue delicacy…'