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Scarlatti: Harpsichord Sonatas

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 3, 1998
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Sonata In A Minor, K. 3
  2. Sonata In F Minor, K 185 - 184
  3. Sonata In B Minor, K 227
  4. Sonata In F Minor, K 238 - 239
  5. Sonata In D Minor, K. 52
  6. Sonata In E-Flat Major, K. 192 - 193
  7. Sonata In A Major, K. 208 - 209
  8. Sonata In E-Flat Major, K. 252 - 253
  9. Sonata In D Minor, K. 191


Product Details

  • Performer: Gustav Leonhardt
  • Composer: Domenico Scarlatti
  • Audio CD (February 3, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000029LS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,721 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

5 star
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3 star
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2 star
25%
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Top Customer Reviews

By Bradley P. Lehman on May 10, 2000
This recording by Leonhardt has been around now for about 30 years on various labels. This selection of 14 sonatas has just about everything one could want in music.
Leonhardt delivers these pieces with tremendous commitment, from dash to suavity to gruff humor to tender sorrow to 18th century Flamenco. (You'll almost swear that's a guitar and castanet show in K 193....) His playing is always plastic and sensitive: the musical ideas arise naturally from the compositions and Scarlatti's creativity. The rhythm is buoyant, and again emerges from the pieces: never driven from above them. The sonatas each have their own life, and Leonhardt takes them wherever they want to go. And repeated listening reveals different nuances each time.
What more is there to say? Rating: as many stars as possible.
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Originally published on the Seon label in 1979, this is my favorite recording of Scarlatti's sonatas, each paired off according to Kirkpatrick's research. Leonhardt's interpretations are excellent and the clarity is amazing. The only negative thing I can say is that it's way too short. The K.3 present here far surpasses any that I've heard.
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Science tells us that Zero Kelvin is equivalent to -273 degrees Celsius. It cannot be breached, even in interstellar space. That being said, if one man were to confound this axiom, it would be Gustav Leonhardt the Austere. His Bach recitals daunt Frosty the Snowman and the Yeti in equal measure. Analogies with algebra are also warranted.

Leonhardt's recording of Scarlatti from 1979 is a model of contrapuntal clarity to the point of evoking Johann Sebastian Bach. On that level, I appreciate the artistry on display. But man, it is so cold and chilly! There is nothing of the warmth or colour of Spain. On Planet Scarlatti, life is a pageant which requires different masks and flamboyantly so; as Leonhardt operates in a restricted airspace, emotions-wise, this is fitfully realised. Sobriety is the order of the day in works such as K 209 and K 252. Dormition and its onset are muted in K 52. The recital ends with K 191 which is an invitation to undergo heat-death.

If a harpsichord is essential in this domain, I much prefer Ralph Kirkpatrick, Scott Ross or Bob van Asperen. Nor do they require thermal underwear. This recital also falls short of Scarlatti the Mystic as expounded by Horowitz.

Rug up!
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I'm not a harpsichord fan...it sounds too "quaint" for me.

Plus it's hard getting color out of it since all chords are plucked with the same intensity.

But Leonhardt is an awesome player and Scarlatti a great composer; these pieces are very dynamic and great listening.

A highly recommended purchase.
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