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Music Review: Tharaud playing Scarlatti is Truly a Success


Narrowed down from over 500 sonatas, this collection of piano sonatas shows all that Domenico Scarlatti had to offer, from slow melodic pieces that sing to Spanish sounding bouncy sonatas.  Alexandre Tharaud has mastered these pieces and his skill is obvious through this recording. 

The opening piece is the Spanish folk dance style with a memorable tune that the rest of the piece continues on.  In comparison, the next piece is slow and thoughtful.  Scarlatti and Tharaud have mastered the full range of emotions that be conveyed through the versatile instrument that is the piano. 

Scarlatti experimented and enhanced keyboard style in many ways as a composer.  He used techniques like octave jumps, superimposed rhythms, Spanish acciaccaturas, crossed hands and mysterious modulations.  All of these interesting technical marvels come together in the middle of this CD, in Sonata K 481 in F minor, which is the best piece on this recording.  

Tharaud shows his skill with this album, he hold tremendous control with many long runs and trills.  It is an interesting fact that despite this skill, Alexandre Tharaud does not like to keep a piano in his house.  He would rather improvise and decipher the music as opposed to the necessary rigorous work.  This brings to mind an image of a whiny little child saying, “but Mommy, Tharaud doesn’t practice piano and he’s awesome…why should I?”

Alexandre Tharaud obviously spent much time when he was younger practicing piano, starting his studies at age 5.  More recently however, Tharaud has begun to explore other avenues of arts such as theater, singing and possibly composing some piano pieces. 

This album, complete with technique and skills of pianist Alexandre Tharaud and the varied piano sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti is truly a success.  Any classical listener would be sure to enjoy Scarlatti’s piano sonatas and this recording features a well-rounded and great performance by Tharaud.