Angela Hewitt interprets a selection of Scarlatti’s keyboard sonatas

Angela Hewitt, playing a warm-toned, evenly spoken Fazioli piano, responds intuitively and alluringly to the multi-faceted character of her chosen sonatas

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Domenico Scarlatti
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Domenico Scarlatti: Sonatas
WORKS: Keyboard Sonatas (selection)
PERFORMER: Angela Hewitt (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: Hyperion CDA 67613

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Not one of Scarlatti’s 550 or so keyboard sonatas may be regarded as typical, remarked the scholar Ralph Kirkpatrick. These richly rewarding pieces –predominantly in single-movement binary form – astonish our ears with their fertile invention, variegated colours, capricious mood changes and so very often their extraordinary power to touch our sensibilities. Angela Hewitt, playing a warm-toned, evenly spoken Fazioli piano, responds intuitively and alluringly to the multi-faceted character of her chosen sonatas. At one moment she is exposing their raw, percussive elements as in the D minor Sonata, K141, where we sense an Iberian influence, or in the spirited G major Sonata, K13 evoking in its hammer strokes the overture to Rameau’s acte de ballet, Pygmalion; at another Hewitt draws us into an altogether more intimate world with tender inflections. Such is the case with the reflective B minor piece, K87, which hauntingly brings to mind Rameau’s Les tendres plaintes, and the meditative F minor Sonata, K69.

Only in the E major Sonata, K380, the best-known piece on the disc, did I feel that Hewitt’s pacing was perhaps a shade too leisurely. Otherwise this excellently recorded disc is outstanding. In her detailed essay Hewitt intimates a wish to issue further volumes. Wonderful news!

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Nicholas Anderson