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CLASSICAL  June 2005

CLASSICAL June 2005

Subject:

Yevgeny Sudbin Plays Scarlatti

From:

Donald Satz <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 8 Jun 2005 22:57:12 +0000

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text/plain

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   Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
           Keyboard Sonatas

Sonatas in:
B flat major, K 545
F minor, K 466
F minor, K 365
D major, K 435
B minor, K 87
C major, K 487
F sharp minor, K 448
D major, K 492
G minor, K 30
G major, K 455
G minor
E major, K 20
A major, K 429
G minor, K 426
G major, K 427
B minor, K 197
B minor, K 27
A major, K 24

Yevgeny Sudbin, piano
Released March 2005
BIS 1508 [75:45]

Comparisons: Horowitz/Sony, Pletnev/Virgin Classics, Scherbakov/Naxos

The title on the cover of this disc is "Scarlatti Piano Sonatas", and I
must say that I am getting tired of this erroneous type of identification
for the keyboard music of Baroque composers.  The 25 year old Yevgeny
Sudbin is playing a piano, but Scarlatti didn't compose piano sonatas -
he composed sonatas for the instruments of his era.

Having said the above, I am not an enemy of Scarlatti on the modern
piano. Although his sharply etched phrasing and impetuosity is best
served by the harpsichord, the right pianist can well convey these
properties and do so while also offering the full diversity and constant
invention of the composer's sonatas.

This brings me to Yevgeny Sudbin who is The Right Pianist.  The
Scarlatti disc is Sudbin's first solo recording, and it is superlative
in all respects.  My opinion is that he has no need to take a back seat
to the superb recordings of Vladimir Horowitz or Mikhail Pletnev and is
many steps above the disappointing recent issue from Konstantin Scherbakov.

Sudbin's playing of the works in major keys is infused with the joyous
elixir of life, and the minor key pieces are wonderfully probing and
melancholy.  His pianism is outstanding, phrasing is supple, and rhythms
are alert and buoyant.  From a technical viewpoint, I am most impressed
with the superb balance and conversational properties he offers among
musical lines, qualities sorely lacking in the Scherbakov readings.  Most
important, Sudbin is always at the service of Scarlatti's music; when
sparks and sharp contours are called for, Sudbin fully delivers; when
silky phrasing is needed, he purrs exquisitely.

The program is also exceptional, presenting an equal number of major and
minor key sonatas that are a virtual compendium of Scarlatti's keyboard
styles.  Sudbin plays each one as if he is the composer's soul mate.
Sudbin's rapid-fire delivery, spicing of Spanish rhythms, and perfect
balance of musical lines make for a very exciting and detailed K 545.
In the joyous sonatas, such as K 435 and K 487, Sudbin's exuberance and
rhythmic bounce seems to leap out of the speakers; particularly outstanding
is his delightful staccato in K 435 and his virtuosic handling of the
wide octave leaps in K 487.  In the K 30 "Cat Fugue", Sudbin offers
pristine stepping and a world of mystery.  He also brings out all of
Scarlatti's spontaneity and clear dialogue among musical lines as evidenced
by his stunning treatment of K 426.

Sudbin is equally compelling in Scarlatti's minor key works of subtle
poignancy and tenderness.  Sudbin's K 466 pierces the heart with a warm
sensuality, and his K 87 is haunting as he weaves his way through the
abundant harmonic invention with gorgeous legato phrasing.  The Sonata
in G minor, not present in the Kirkpatrick numbering system, has a deep
sadness fully probed by Sudbin, and K 197 is given a subtle intensity
that is riveting.

Wonderful music and superb performances are certainly sufficient to
warrant a strong recommendation.  In addition, Sudbin's soundstage is
outstanding in its clarity, crispness, and rich bass response.  I have
not heard such fine sonics from any previous Scarlatti keyboard recordings
and doubt that they will be matched in the near future.

Don's Conclusions: Definitely an essential recording for every Scarlatti
enthusiast not allergic to the piano in this repertoire.  Yevgeny Sudbin
has all the technical polish and artistic inspiration to become one of
the great keyboard artists of the 21st Century.  I keenly look forward
to following his career and urge you to do likewise.  Sudbin is very
special.

Don Satz
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