Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Scarlatti - Sonatas - Bogner (clavichord)

Rating: 2/5

Very disappointing

I'm afraid this disc didn't work for me.  This may be because of the instrument, but I think it's to do with the playing as well.  There are a lot of magnificent recordings of Scarlatti on both harpsichord and piano and this simply isn’t in the same league.

I am not really sure of the rationale behind playing Scarlatti on the clavichord; the argument presented in the notes isn't very clear and didn't convince me.  Bogner's notes claim that, "The endless tonal flexibility of the clavichord underlines the origins of this music, particularly on the instrument by Thomas Vincent Glück. Thanks to the elaborate construction in the bass, the powerful chords really come into their own with an almost unheard-of resonance…"  They don't.  The sound of the clavichord in this recording is dull and lifeless, which in itself robs the music of much of its freshness and interest. 

I also felt that much of the playing was similarly lacklustre.  The disc opens with Kk.208, which plods and stumbles its way along and has the air of a Grade 5 exam piece being practiced by someone who doesn't like it very much.  This pretty much sets the tone of the programme; not all of the selections were quite so drably presented, but none really shone as they should and I found the whole disc a grave disappointment.

I am sorry to be harsh, but that's my honest response to this recording. I'll be sticking to Hewitt, Tharaud, Pinnock and my old and dearly loved Scott Ross complete recordings; this isn’t for me.

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