WORKS: 14 Sonatas
PERFORMER: Glen Wilson (harpsicord)
CATALOGUE NO: 2292 46419-2 DDD
‘Reader, music lover or professional, whichever you may be, do not expect to find any deep musical thoughts in these compositions, but rather a joyful, imaginative execution of the art, intended to impart security and freedom on the harpsichord.’ These disarming words were written by Domenico Scarlatti about his keyboard sonatas, of which more than 500 exist. Composed in the first half of the 18th century, they are remarkable for their harmonic language and exuberant rhythmic vitality which was much influenced by the flamenco guitar accompaniments of Spanish popular music.
The American harpsichordist Glen Wilson gives marvellously vibrant, cleanly articulated performances of fourteen sonatas, taking in the grave B minor Sonata K87, brilliant F minor K463, and wayward ‘Cat’s Fugue’, so-called because the theme is supposed to sound like a cat walking on a keyboard. Scarlatti, himself a formidable virtuoso, demands an awesome technique to manage the wide leaps, crossed hands and rushing scales. Wilson, performing on a harpsichord made by John Barnes in 1985, from a copy of an Aelpido 1726 keyboard, makes light of the task. The recorded sound is bright and clean. Annette Morreau