A First-Rate Scarlatti Program by a First-Rate Performer
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Since recitals--and excellent ones, for that matter--of the sonatas of Dominico Scarlatti are hardly rare, a new CD has to combine first-rate programming with high performance values to get noticed. Well, this CD got my attention. Canadian Luc Beausejour is a rock-solid harpsichordist who, as we'd expect, makes easy work of Scarlatti's more virtuoso passages, but also injects grandeur and depth of feeling into works such as my favorite sonata, K. 380. This unforgettably grand work was supposed to have been suggested to Scarlatti by a procession of cavalry, and you can indeed hear the hooves striking fire on the cobbles. Beausejour gives this work as dignified a reading as he gives a firey one to the febrile sonata K. 113 that follows it on the CD. The harpsichordist starts his recital with two of Scarlatti's most popular, K. 2 and K. 322, and includes others of Scarlatti's greatest hits, such as K. 435, so this recital has the virtue of showcasing some of the most recognizable and treasurable of the composer's 555(!) sonatas. But then Beausejour ends his recital with the toccata-like sonata K. 517 that if it doesn't figure on most recitals, should. But only if the performer can bring Beausejour's aplomb to the proceedings.If I have any regrets about this CD, you'll probably think it's a niggling one: I wish Beausejour had substituted two other sonatas for the long-winded and undistinguished K. 132. That sonata's almost eight minutes length could have yielded to two shorter and more piquant works of the master. But if that's my chief objection, I must really dig this CD. And I do. Very natural, nicely resonant sound to boot."