Lucas Debargue breathes new life into the harpsichord sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti and presents works outside the standard piano repertoire. The Parisian pianist has already climbed the pinnacle of piano artistry with Beethoven, Liszt and Ravel and unleashed full-blown romantic thunderstorms with Schubert’s A-minor Piano Sonata no. 14 and the madcap finale of Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit. Now, on his new album, Debargue devotes himself completely to Domenico Scarlatti. He already played four of this Italian master’s sonatas on his highly acclaimed début album. Germany’s Der Spiegel waxed ecstatic: “Debargue’s Scarlatti recalls his mighty predecessors. He displays the subtle touch and feeling once bestowed on these miniatures byRead more Vladimir Horowitz and imparts new sound to Scarlatti’s keyboard music. … Debargue touches the outer limits of expression between joylessness and rapture: one may find it overwrought, but it’s never less than gripping. And then there’s the gentle Glenn Gould touch.” Debargue is excited at his new project: “Scarlatti is inspiring. He’s the centre of my musical thought as regards music for keyboard instruments.” He goes on: “I took it as a sort of personal mission to finally do something with him.” Though Scarlatti generally lacks a firm place in the repertoire – he’s not heard very often and is almost never the mainstay of a recital – he’s one of those milestones that every pianist must turn to.
"Though his readings are unabashedly pianistic, they exhibit more than a passing acquaintance with contemporary Baroque performance practice. One of the joys of this generous set is the expressive clarity of Debargue’s piano sound, unclouded by pedal. He sounds both completely on top of his game and staking out new interpretative territory with confident mastery. By any measure, this is an ambitious project, handsomely realized."
"Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve filled a swath of the relative quiet at the end of the musical year with a sizable recording: Lucas Debargue’s four-disc, four-hour survey of 52 Scarlatti keyboard sonatas for Sony Classical.
"It may not have the truly awesome proportions of a Beethoven sonata cycle (10 hours of music in Igor Levit’s new rendition, also for Sony). But Mr. Debargue’s recent release is one of the more sprawling helpings on record of Scarlatti’s hundreds of lucid, elegant sonatas, which generally find themselves on recital programs as shapely amuse-bouches rather than the full meal."
"... it is often simply lovely — an impressive, satisfying achievement."
New York Times Read less