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Scarlatti: Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 13 / Chu-Fang Huang

Scarlatti / Huang
Release Date: 10/26/2010 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572107   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Enough to tempt the palate of the most jaded collector. The element of pleasant surprise is still alive and well in the recording studio.

It has been nearly twelve years since Naxos began its ambitious Scarlatti series, recording the complete keyboard sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti, who composed some 555 of them. Given that only sixteen of the sonatas appear on this disc, this is a project that may occupy the Naxos group for some time to come. According to their online listings, Disc No. 1, featuring pianist Eteri Andjaparidze, appeared in January 1999; this thirteenth disc, with the Chinese pianist Chu-Fang Huang, was released in October 2010.

Naxos has chosen to present these sonatas with a series of
Read more pianists, rather than harpsichordists, and fans of the latter period approach are invited to hear how convincing Scarlatti sounds in the hands of several (mostly) up-and-coming pianists. On this recording, Chu-Fang Huang – a graduate of both the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School – persuasively demonstrates why these baroque sonatas can work so well on the modern piano, even when the listener’s ingrained preference might be for instruments of Scarlatti’s time. Winner of first prize in the Cleveland International Piano Competition and Van Cliburn International Competition finalist, Huang is a stylish and compelling player who also knows the virtues of restraint and taste.

She has a clear affinity for these wonderfully quirky sonatas. Her crisp articulations give each note a subtle separate presence, without ever sounding choppy or percussive. The swiftly flowing melodic lines are never over-pedalled; indeed, the pedal is used sparingly and unobtrusively throughout. The specially Spanish character of the sonatas is deftly underlined in a few instances where they sound almost as if they had been written for Spanish guitar - notably portions of the Sonata K.125 in G Major.

Equally effective is the wistful, gently wandering opening of the biggest and perhaps most unusual sonatas of this set, the K.232 in E Minor. This performance sounds almost improvised, with the plangent harmonies of a repeated rising passage in sixths sounding strangely modern.

At the same time, however, Huang never distorts the music with anachronisms, romantic embellishments, or the over-emoting style with which contemporary pianists sometimes try to make a mark on these 18 th-century pieces. The playing sounds honest and authentic, and the technique – never an easy “given” in these often-speedy pieces with huge intervallic leaps – is so fluid that everything sounds deceptively easy. Some of the tempi are breathtakingly fast.

The excellent two-page liner notes, which give the K (Kirkpatrick) numbers of each sonata as well as the numbers from the Longo (L) and Pestelli (P) catalogues, are by Keith Anderson, and his introduction to the sonatas includes such entertaining anecdotes as an account of the Scarlatti vs. Handel contest in Rome - in which the former was judged the better harpsichordist, while the latter was declared the superior organist.

Clearly, there are many choices for Scarlatti fans, whether they prefer to hear this music on the harpsichord or the piano. And these much-recorded sonatas have attracted the attention of pianists from Horowitz to Alexis Weissenberg, an often-overlooked stylist who produces pulse-pounding Scarlatti. But this Naxos series of fresh discoveries is enough to tempt the palate of the most jaded collector, proving again that the element of pleasant surprise is still alive and well in the recording studio.

-- Melinda Bargreen, International
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Works on This Recording

1. Sonata for Harpsichord in A major, K 65/L 195 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
2. Sonata for Harpsichord in D major, K 160/L 15 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1757 
3. Sonata for Harpsichord in G major, K 125/L 487 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
4. Sonata for Harpsichord in E minor, K 232/L 62 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
5. Sonata for Harpsichord in D major, K 416/L 149 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
6. Sonata for Harpsichord in G major, K 71/L 81 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1757 
7. Sonata for Harpsichord in D major, K 164/L 59 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
8. Sonata for Harpsichord in G minor, K 35/L 386 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
9. Sonata for Harpsichord in D major, K 534/L 11 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
10. Sonata for Harpsichord in C minor, K 22/L 360 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
11. Sonata for Harpsichord in F major, K 205/L 523 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
12. Sonata for Harpsichord in B flat major, K 529/L 327 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
13. Sonata for Harpsichord in D major, K 491/L 164 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
14. Sonata for Harpsichord in B minor, K 197/L 147 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
15. Sonata for Harpsichord in E major, K 28/L 373 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1738 
16. Sonata for Harpsichord in C minor, K 363/L 160 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Chu-Fang Huang (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1754; Madrid, Spain 

Sound Samples

Keyboard Sonata in A major, K.65/L.195/P.142
Keyboard Sonata in D major, K.160/L.15/P.131
Keyboard Sonata in G Major, K.125/L.487/P.152: Vivo: Keyboard Sonata in G major, K.125/L.487/P.152
Keyboard Sonata in E minor, K.232/L.62/P.317
Keyboard Sonata in D major, K.416/L.149/P.454
Keyboard Sonata in G major, K.71/L.81/P.17
Keyboard Sonata in D major, K.164/L.59/P.274
Keyboard Sonata in G minor, K.35/L.386/P.20
Keyboard Sonata in D major, K.534/L.11/P.538
Keyboard Sonata in C minor, K.22/L.360/P.78
Keyboard Sonata in F major, K.205/L.S23/P.171
Keyboard Sonata in B flat major, K.529/L.327/P.533
Keyboard Sonata in D major, K.491/L.164/P.484
Keyboard Sonata in B minor, K.197/L.147/P.124
Keyboard Sonata in E major, K.28/L.373/P.84
Keyboard Sonata in C minor, K.363/L.160/P.104

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