Pianist Anthony di Bonaventura selected 14 of Domenico Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas for this 2006 collection on Centaur, and they are arranged to heighten their character through contrasts of key and mood. Though major-key sonatas predominate, and triple and compound duple meters in fast tempos are the norm (which, to the casual listener, might make these sonatas seem to blur together), di Bonaventura plays with a wealth of attacks, timbres, dynamics, and phrasing, and his touch is varied and highly expressive within the constraints of these Baroque selections. While some pianists take liberties with Scarlatti and make his sonatas unduly rich and bigger-sounding than is appropriate, di Bonaventura shows admirable restraint in his playing and gives the music crisp lines and dry articulation, with perhaps only the slightest use of pedal for the sake of connecting legato passages. Originally recorded in 2001 in New York's St. Peter Episcopal Church, the sound of this CD is bright and transparent, with close-up recording that gives di Bonaventura a nearly palpable presence and makes the piano feel inches away. Note: this Centaur album is to be distinguished from an identically titled 1990 release by di Bonaventura on the Titanic label, which offers a completely different program of Scarlatti sonatas.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson