A classical music blog by music critic Tim Mangan
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (1920-1995) plays Sonata in C by Domenico Scarlatti
classical music, music videos
July 24, 2010
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What a wonerful way to wake up this morning. Thank you!
Thank you, Tim. Some of the recordings made by ABM, including several sonatas by Scarlatti, are among my favorite piano recordings of all time.
In my opinion, the only living pianist who can be compared, in some of his recordings, to the great Italian (in terms of evenness of touch, perfection of execution, complete commitment to the interpretive idea) is Grigory Sokolov, who is unfortunately almost unknown in this country. During his entire career, he only allowed one video recording of his playing. It was made during his recital in Paris eight years ago. A few excerpts from that DVD are available on YouTube.
Listen to a short piece by Couperin – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRD8eqpY-YM&NR=1 – that he played as one of four encores during the recital and you will see that here was someone truly extraordinary. Marvel at the way his hands don’t bump into each other while he clearly and beautifully “sings” the melodic line in the middle (literally!) of all staccato notes and how at the very end of the piece, after playing almost the whole thing with clockwork precision, he suddenly allows himself an elegant little rubato as if putting a tiny bit of icing on the cake… Priceless! His next encore was another Couperin miniature – Soeur Monique – that in my opinion was performed with even more astonishing perfection; alas, i could not find that video anywhere online. You would just have to buy the DVD – it’s worth it. It was reissued last year by Medici Arts.
Thanks, Tim. I definitely need to add more of both Scarlatti and ABM to my collection.
Thanks, too, to MarK for the info and the link re: Mr. Sokolov. That was stunning. I am definitely now a fan and am going online to look for the DVD.
Mark, I just have to add my voie to yours when you recommend Sokolov, especially the video of his incredible Tic-Toc-Choque by Couperin. I was completely mesmerized and thrilled when I first saw it, and still love it madly today. Having listened to a good dozen recordings of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations while attempting to play some of it myself, I found Sokolov’s version easily the most enjoyable, the most consistently interesting.
This has always been one of my favorite Scarlatti sonatas. Thanks for sharing.
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