Label: PIANO CLASSICS
Format: COMPACT DISC
‘A strange but wonderful album’: one of the accolades for Andrea Molteni’s debut album on Piano Classics, of the piano works by his countrymen Dallapiccola and Petrassi (PCL10222). For a sequel, he turns to the endlessly inventive store of sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, who drew on his own extraordinary abilities at the keyboard to produce the illusion of written improvisations within a basic two-part form which left routine formulas of keyboard composition farther and farther behind. In a booklet conversation with the pianist and Lisztian Leslie Howard, Molteni explains that he has selected 18 lesser-known sonatas in a sequence which moves through the keys in the manner of The Well-Tempered Clavier, beginning with the A major virtuoso flourishes of K24 and ending with the G minor of K546. Howard praises the clarity and luminosity of Molteni’s touch; the sensitivity of his approach to ornamentation, which carefully emulates the effects and articulation available on a harpsichord as much as possible; strong dynamic contrasts; and the breathing pauses between sections, which allow for a change of registration like a harpsichord stop. Without observing the traditional pairings of Scarlatti’s sonatas, Molteni’s sequence encompasses the violinistic figurations of the early sonatas from the composer’s residence in Rome as well as the fandangos and guitaristic flourishes of his later and much longer stay in Madrid in service to the Princess (then Queen) Maria Magdalena Barbara. Scarlatti himself professed an aim of ‘ingenious jesting with art’ in a preface to one of volume of sonatas, and Molteni proves himself more than equal to the required balance between musical sophistication and virtuoso demands.