Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Music Review: Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 7 by Domenico Scarlatti

Following one commanding Russian pianist, Evgeny Zarafiants, who contributed Volume 6 to the Naxos Scarlatti Sonata series, is another in Konstantin Scherbakov. Like Jenö Jandó, Scherbakov has plowed a huge furrow through the Naxos catalogue with piano series that include Franz Liszt’s transcriptions of Beethoven’s Symphonies, the complete piano music of Leopold Godowsky, as well as the Rachmaninov and Scriabin Piano Concertos, Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues, and Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos. How he could have missed the Prokofiev corpus is still a mystery.

Remaining steadfast in the Russian dedication to Domenico Scarlatti and his Keyboard Sonatas, Scherbakov provides a fiery recital, opening withy a precisely articulated performance of the F Major Sonata, K. 483. His playing here is comparable to the conservative and militaristic, harpsichord-like performances of Jandó and Zarafiants with echoes the power and command of Sviatoslav Richter in playing Bach. This meticulousness extends to F Major Sonata, K. 483 and the A Major Sonata, K. 283, where Scherbakov infuses the march-like cadences with his certain Slavic pathos. The beautiful Russian discipline is present in the quieter pieces, such as the F Minor Sonata, K. 238 and the F Major Sonata, K. 17, the two offering a revealing comparison of styles within the change from minor to major scales.

Konstantin Scherbakov, along with Jenö Jandó, and Evgeny Zarafiants, have provided the highlights among highlights thus far in the Naxos Scarlatti Sonata Series. I would not presume that this is the best that the series will have to offer before it is all said and done. I only point these out to illustrate the extremely high level of artistry that has been accomplished in the series. Every installment should be welcomed with anticipation.

Konstantin Scherbakov was born 1963 in Barnaul, Siberia. He has been the recipient of many awards including, first Rachmaninov Competition in 1983. Scherbakov recording of Liszt’s transcriptions of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was awarded the German Critics’ Prize 2005, as well as his recording of Godowsky’s Sonata in E minor, which was awarded the German Critics’ Prize in December 2001. Scherbakov’s recording of Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues of earned him the Classical Award 2001 at Cannes.

Other releases in this series include:

Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 1

Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 2

Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 3

Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 4

Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 5

Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 6

Sonata in F major, K.483/L.472/P.407: Presto; Sonata in F major, K.542/L.167/P.546: Allegretto Sonata in B flat major, K.360/L.400/P.520: Allegro Sonata in C minor, K.40/L.375/P.119: Minuetto; Sonata in C major, K.422/L.451/P.511: Allegro; Sonata in F minor, K.238/L.27/P.55: Andante; Sonata in F major, K.17/L.384/P.73: Presto; Sonata in A major, K.500/L.492/P.358: Allegro; Sonata in A major, K.114/L.344/P.141: Spirito e presto; Sonata in E minor, K.291/L.61/P.282: Andante; Sonata in G major, K.328/L.S27/P.485: Andante comodo; Sonata in A major, K.320/L.341/P.335: Allegro; Sonata in G major, K.283/L.318/P.482: Andante Allegro; Sonata in D major, K.313/L.192/P.398: Allegro; Sonata in D major, K.479/L.S16/P.380: Allegrissimo; Sonata in D major, K.479/L.S16/P.380: Allegrissimo.

This review was first published in

© Copyright, C. Michael Bailey, 2007