Saturday, 21 October 2017

Scarlatti - Sonatas 2 - Hewitt

Rating: 5/5

Exceptionally good

I thought Angela Hewitt's first CD of Scarlatti was excellent.  This, her second, is at least as good and in some ways to me is better.

Hewitt has again made a careful selection from the abundance of Scarlatti's sonatas, choosing seventeen which are varied in mood and feel.  She has grouped them into small programmes of about five designed to be heard together, which works extremely well.  She even includes two specifically because they are not too difficult so that listeners may be encouraged to try to play them.  (Without her notes, I wouldn't have known which they are because there's no diminution in quality or interest.)  It's a very engaging programme.

Hewitt plays quite superbly, I think.  Technically, she is impeccable, of course, and there is an elegance, thoughtfulness and an underlying love of this music which is apparent throughout.  The opening two sonatas Kk 491 and 492, both in D major, held me spellbound on first hearing; I don't think I've ever heard Scarlatti given such meaning or such grace before.  The whole disc is of similar quality and has kept it through repeated listenings.  It really is a magnificent performance, I think.

The recorded sound is excellent and Hewitt's notes are as full, scholarly and fascinating as always.  I have quite a lot of Scarlatti on both piano and harpsichord, much of which I love, but I think if I had to choose a single disc to keep it would be this one.  It's exceptionally good and very, very warmly recommended.

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