Lucas Debargue

Scarlatti: 52 Sonatas

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Because they are most often played on harpsichord or piano (aside from the occasional version for guitar, harp, synthesizer, or other transcriptions), Domenico Scarlatti's sonatas have acquired a dual identity, in much the same way as Bach's keyboard works have, though unlike most other pieces in the established repertoire. When played on a harpsichord, the instrument's characteristic plucked sonorities, dry tone, and terraced dynamics lend an antique patina to the sonatas, perhaps suggesting the limitations of Baroque and early Classical performance practices. Yet when they are played on a modern piano, which offers a broader tonal palette, subtleties of touch and action, and a much wider dynamic range, the sonatas allow for a more open and flexible approach that seemingly transcends time periods. Lucas Debargue has selected 52 sonatas from the complete oeuvre of 555 and offers his own view of the music's timelessness and viability in his varied readings. Balancing the music's rigorous technical demands with its continual inventiveness, Debargue conveys both the logic and fantasy at play in the sonatas, and Scarlatti's music can be clearly heard as an antecedent to the Classical sonata and the Romantic ├ętude. At the same time, Debargue is also careful to preserve the clean textures, crisp attacks, and free embellishments of Baroque music, so the past and present meet in an enjoyable interplay of ideas and expressions. Sony's recording in Berlin's Jesus-Christus-Kirche is close-up and clean, with little background resonance.

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