Scarlatti Sonatas

Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti was born in 1685 in Naples, Italy.  Same year Bach was born!  And Handel!  He wrote operas, cantatas, symphonies, liturgical pieces, etc, and LOTS of keyboard music, primarily intended for harpsichord (or very early pianofortes).  When I say a lot, consider his keyboard sonatas:  he cranked out 555 of them.  Be amazed at Martha Argerich’s precision rendition of one of these works.

Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata published 200 years ago.

Despite being nearly totally deaf, Beethoven managed to compose what has been termed the Mount Everest of piano literature, completing the work in 1818 at age 48.  It’s a massive work, containing generous amounts of Beethovian turbulence,  a moving (& bluesy) slow section lasting almost 20 minutes and…, a fugue!

I offer Yuja Wang’s incredibly focused performance at Carnegie Hall in May 2016.

Prokofiev: Suite 1 from Romeo & Juliet

Somewhere between a cello and a violin there is the viola, and wow,  here’s a soulful performance that showcases that oft neglected instrument.  Of course I’ve heard the orchestral score, the 10 pieces transcribed for solo piano, seen the ballet, but this take really nails the robust and moving score by Sergei Prokofiev.  Performed by Maxim Rysanov (viola) & Da Sol Kim (piano).