Bach, Handel, D Scarlatti

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Bach,D Scarlatti,Handel
LABELS: Meridian
WORKS: Keyboard Partita No. 4 in D, BWV 828, Keyboard Sonata in G minor; Concerto in G; Suite No. 7 in G minor (1720), Keyboard Sonatas, K424, K425, K454, K455, K546 & K547
PERFORMER: Fou Ts’ong (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDE 84487
A bold programme grouping three composers born in the same year, 1685. Handel’s Suite – ending with the famous Passacaglia – is in G minor, not major, as wrongly stated on both front and back of the jewel-case. G – whether minor or major – is the key of all the Scarlatti sonatas, too, chosen according to Ralph Kirkpatrick’s pairings. Which makes a cogent point about Scarlatti’s outstandingly fertile imagination. Fou Ts’ong is at his best in these often brilliantly intricate pieces, and gentle in the only sonata in the minor mode, K546. He is not afraid to attack its companion with some ferocity, but the bright piano sound quickly tires the ear, and the recording strikes me as thin and hard.

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In the slow introductions of the overtures to both the Bach and Handel suites, Fou Ts’ong occasionally betrays a lack of ease, and the ornaments in the Handel are somewhat nagging. Once into a faster tempo, he seems happier and the cadenza at the end of the Handel Passacaglia is splendid. The Bach Partita poses much bigger challenges, and Fou Ts’ong’s playing is thoughtful, expressive, humorous and lively, though his hands are not always synchronised in the Gigue. Adrian Jack