Krzysztof Penderecki

Krzysztof Penderecki
Krzysztof Penderecki (1933-2020) conducting his oratorio "Seven Gates of Jerusalem" at the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, in 2001. Photo by Dmitry Lovetsky

Friday, February 19, 2016

Alexandre Tharaud plays Domenico Scarlatti (Audio video)

"I love the extravagance, the sunny glow, the light touch of Scarlatti", says French pianist Alexandre Tharaud, whose second Virgin Classics release is a collection of the composer's captivating and adventurous keyboard sonatas. His first release, the Chopin recital Journal intime was described by The Guardian as "altogether breathtakingly beautiful".

"Listening to Mr. Tharaud's crisply articulated and vividly etched playing, a listener might guess that he is a Baroque specialist who, for some reason, prefers the modern piano to the harpsichord. But... Baroque music is only one of his interests", wrote the New York Times in 2005.

In typically imaginative fashion, Tharaud combined early Romanticism with the Baroque over the 2009-2010 season when he toured a recital programme of works by Chopin – the subject of Virgin Classics release, Journal intime – and selections from Domenico Scarlatti's canon of 555 keyboard sonatas.

"I love the extravagance, the sunny glow, the light touch of Scarlatti, who shares with Chopin a precise sense for ornamentation, a culture of beauty in sound and an intimate rapport with the audience", he says.

Tharaud's previous exploration of the Baroque repertoire has focused on composers such as Couperin and Rameau, whose music is rarely heard on the modern piano. The tradition of Scarlatti on the piano is much more firmly established – Vladimir Horowitz, for instance, would often include his music in recitals – but Tharaud draws inspiration from developments in historically informed performance over the past 30 years. As he told the French magazine Télérama: "I am not sure that authenticity is conferred by a specific instrument, but rather in the way new life is imbued into this music... Baroque musicians have taught us to approach tempi and ornamentation with a sense of freedom, even audacity".

Scarlatti, born in Naples, spent more than 30 years of his life serving the royal families of Portugal and Spain and died in Madrid. His sonatas are concise, captivating one-movement works in binary form, often adventurous in their use of harmony and modulation, and frequently inhabited by the exotic spirit of Iberian folk music.

"Whether on a broad canvas or on a miniature one, Tharaud's feel for tonal colouring and his eloquence of expression are a perfect match for this inspiring, kaleidoscopic music." That praise from the Daily Telegraph could almost apply to works by Scarlatti, but in fact came from a review of Tharaud's Chopin album, Journal intime. More specific in its frame of reference was The Guardian's comment on the Chopin disc: "Alexandre Tharaud explores a huge emotional range in his Journal intime, including the most thrilling and propulsive first ballade since Michelangeli's version, with a deeply intense C sharp minor nocturne at the heart. Tharaud lifts the music across the bar-lines with deft rubato, his sound clear, shining and sensuous; altogether breathtakingly beautiful".


Ο δεξιοτέχνης Γάλλος πιανίστας Αλεξάντρ Ταρό ερμηνεύει δεκαοκτώ από τις πιο απαιτητικές σονάτες που έγραψε για πληκτροφόρα όργανα ο σπουδαίος Ιταλός συνθέτης της εποχής μπαρόκ, Ντομένικο Σκαρλάτι. Το CD, το οποίο έχει αποσπάσει εξαιρετικές κριτικές από τον διεθνή μουσικό Τύπο, ηχογραφήθηκε μεταξύ 30 Αυγούστου και 3 Οκτωβρίου 2010, στο Θέατρο L'Heure Bleure της ελβετικής πόλης La Chaux-de-Fonds στην οποία έχει απονεμηθεί ο τίτλος του Μνημείου Παγκόσμιας Κληρονομιάς της UNESCO.

Ο Αλεξάντρ Ταρό έχει αφιερώσει την εγγραφή αυτή στη μνήμη της κορυφαίας Ρουμάνας πιανίστριας Κλάρας Χάσκιλ (1895-1960).

Οι 555 σονάτες για πληκτροφόρα όργανα του Ντομένικο Σκαρλάτι δεν είναι απλώς ασκήσεις ερμηνείας (essercizi), όπως ο ίδιος τις είχε κατονομάσει και όπως άλλωστε ήταν παλιότερα πιστευτό. Αποτελούν μιαν ευφάνταστη σειρά σύντομων συνθέσεων, οι οποίες εισάγουν νέες τεχνικές ερμηνείας και προαναγγέλλουν τη μεγαλειώδη φόρμα της τριμερούς σονάτας.

Ένα σπάνιο οπλοστάσιο αρμονικού και ρυθμικού πλούτου αποκαλύπτεται από το άκουσμα των συνθεμάτων αυτών του Ντομένικο Σκαρλάτι. Δεν ήταν μόνο δεξιοτέχνης των χεριών, ήταν και δεξιοτέχνης της φαντασίας. Αναμειγνύει με εξαιρετική λεπτότητα και ισορροπία την πολυφωνία με τη μονωδία. Η γραφή του συναντιέται συνεχώς με τη χάρη, το πνεύμα και την κομψότητα της εποχής του Μπαρόκ. Δεν μιμείται κανέναν. Τουναντίον, όντας καινοτόμος, δημιουργεί τις προϋποθέσεις για να τον μιμηθούν.

Οι Σονάτες, αιχμή του πολυσήμαντου έργου του Ντομένικο Σκαρλάτι, αποτέλεσαν αντικείμενο επισταμένης έρευνας και καταλογογράφησης. Πρώτος ο Ιταλός πιανίστας και συνθέτης Αλεσάντρο Λόνγκο καταπιάστηκε με την αρχειοθέτηση και την οργάνωση των έργων αυτών. Η κατ' αυτόν αρίθμησή τους ορίζεται με το πρόθεμα L. Νεότερη είναι η αντίστοιχη εργασία του Αμερικανού τσεμπαλίστα Ραλφ Κέρκπατρικ. Ο κατάλογος που αυτός συνέταξε – όπου οι σονάτες ορίζονται με το Κ – θεωρείται οριστικός.

Πηγή: Γιώργος Β. Μονεμβασίτης

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)

1. Sonata K 239 in F minor, Allegro
2. Sonata K 208 in A major, Adagio è cantabile
3. Sonata K 72 in C major, Allegro
4. Sonata K 8 in G minor, Allegro
5. Sonata K 29 in D major, Presto
6. Sonata K 132 in C major, Cantabile
7. Sonata K 430 in D major, Non presto mà a tempo di ballo
8. Sonata K 420 in C major, Allegro
9. Sonata K 481 in F minor, Andante è cantabile
10. Sonata K 514 in C major, Allegro
11. Sonata K 64 in D minor, Gavota: Allegro
12. Sonata K 32 in D minor, Aria
13. Sonata K 141 in D minor, Allegro
14. Sonata K 472 in B flat major, Andante
15. Sonata K 3 in A minor, Presto
16. Sonata K 380 in E major, Andante commodo
17. Sonata K 431 in G major, Allegro
18. Sonata K 9 in D minor, Allegro

Alexandre Tharaud, piano

In memory of Clara Haskil (1895-1960)

L'Heure Bleure, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, 30/08-03/10/2010

Virgin Classics 2011

(HD 1080p – Audio video)

First publication: February 19, 2016 – Last update: January 30, 2018

The biggest surprise on this wonderfully exuberant and exhilarating disc comes with the very first notes: the piano tone is rich and full, worlds away from the slightly distant, musical-box tone that is often thought appropriate for recordings of Domenico Scarlatti's sonatas on a modern concert grand. But as the soundworld suggests, Tharaud is totally unapologetic about playing these pieces – all originally composed for harpsichord even though the earliest fortepianos were in circulation in Scarlatti's time – on a piano. In the sleevenotes, Tharaud says that of the four baroque keyboard composers that he has recorded so far – Bach, Couperin, Rameau and now Scarlatti – it's the last whose music is most suited to this treatment. His selection of sonatas is chosen for maximum variety, with a group in which the Spanish inflections of flamenco and folk music can be heard, others in which he gets a chance to show some dazzling technique, alongside those in which the playfulness is replaced by profound introspection. There's never a dull moment, and Tharaud's range of touch and colour, and his sheer enthusiasm, shine through every jewel-like piece.

Source: Andrew Clements (

Alexandre Tharaud's 2011 album of Domenico Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas may serve as a reasonable introduction for newcomers to this music, but listeners who have more experience with these distinctive pieces will look elsewhere for a satisfying version. Tharaud follows a long line of pianists who have interpreted the sonatas by way of the modern piano, and like many of his predecessors, he plays them with a fully modern technique, including the use of the pedals and a nearly full range of dynamics and sonorities. His style of playing has supporters, and those who like their Scarlatti to sound up-to-date – perhaps more like Tharaud's Chopin or Debussy, or even like Poulenc in a Baroque vein – can be sure they'll enjoy this disc. However, the need to be au courant puts Tharaud at odds with more historically aware pianists who strive for appropriate interpretations yet emulate the sound of the harpsichord by playing without pedals and employing more restricted attacks and colors. Listeners who seek out Scarlatti recordings on harpsichord will find the textures to be more transparent and the harmonies more piquant and novel, and the quirkiness of Scarlatti's phrasing and abrupt rhythmic changes will be readily apparent. Tharaud's audience will like his highly personal interpretations, which can be best described as expressive and richly hued, but others will have reason to find more idiomatic period alternatives.

Source: Blair Sanderson (

See also

Alexandre Tharaud – All the posts

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