D Scarlatti, Soler, Seixas, Ferrer, Carvallo, Albero & Jacinto

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Albero & Jacinto,Carvallo,D Scarlatti,Ferrer,Seixas,Soler
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: From Lisbon to Madrid with Scarlatti
WORKS: Sonatas
PERFORMER: Penelope Cave (harpsichord)
Domenico Scarlatti was such an extraordinary individualist that he tends to tower above and obscure the musical world around him, first in Lisbon, then Madrid. The situation is aggravated by the destruction by fire of a great deal of music from his Portuguese contemporaries, following the catastrophic Lisbon earthquake of 1755.


This CD includes 14 Scarlatti sonatas, selected for their Spanish flavour – Flamenco song, energetic dance and guitar-like strumming. Cave characterises them vividly: shatteringly dissonant note-clusters in K175; major and minor mixed with abandon in K444; a repeated figure reaching near-hysteria in K502.

But what most distinguishes this collection is the inclusion of virtually unknown music by Scarlatti’s contemporaries – his pupil Seixas, in Portugal, with a three-section Sonata, two fast movements sandwiching a charming minuet; a finely crafted piece (one of only two extant) by Jacinto; three sonatas by Soler, another pupil. Particularly striking is a Toccata and Andante by Carvallo, taking the Portuguese harpsichord tradition well into the early Classical style. The textures cry out for the fortepiano’s capacity to balance dynamics.


Penelope Cave’s immaculate yet wholeheartedly spirited playing, on a gloriously warm modern copy of a Portuguese harpsichord, throws new light on familiar Scarlatti. Highly recommended. George Pratt