Wonderful Sonatas Played Wonderfully
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 10/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Five years ago I wrote a rave review of an EMI CD of Soler sonatas Soler: Sonatas played by Marie-Luise Hinrichs and wondered why I'd never heard of her. Her playing was sophisticated, extremely musical, sonically attractive and a real eye-opener for me whose only previous exposure to recorded Soler sonatas on the piano had been the not-very-distinguished series recorded by Isidro Barrio. (I have never heard the disc with Alicia de Larrocha; my loss.) I had also heard some of Gilbert Rowland's and Scott Ross's Soler on harpsichord but was put off a bit by the recorded sound of their instruments. Now we, finally, have another CD by Hinrichs, albeit on a different label, cpo. And I'm happy to say that Hinrichs's playing is just as enjoyable as it was on that earlier issue.
Padre Antonio Soler (1729-1783) lived his adult life in a monastery and little is known about him aside from his music. He was prolific but published little. Not much of his music is now heard aside from these delicious sonatas which, although written a generation later, have points of reference with those of Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) with whom he was rumored to have studied. In Soler's works there are the beginnings of rococo mannerisms. On the whole his works follow similar formal outlines to those of Scarlatti's but he sometimes expanded them to include three- and four-movement sonatas. And the Spanish flavor is if anything a bit more to the fore. These are lovely, distinctive works. All but two of the works on this CD are in a minor key and it is my own opinion that he excelled when writing in the minor, often imparting a yearning melancholy.