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The young Estonian pianist Irina Zahharenkova has been a prizewinner at several international piano competitions, though she has yet to play in the UK. Her 2010 debut CD (also on Russia’s Classical Records label) was a fresh and engaging account of the Goldberg Variations; these 16 Scarlatti sonatas, played with no less vivacity and charm, make an attractive sequel. Zahharenkova relishes the faster, dance-based pieces, from K38’s whirligig of frothy triplets to K438’s flamenco-like flourishes and rapped-out rhythms; and she negotiates K49’s tricky hand-crossings to explore its Haydnesque humour, droll pauses tripping the listener’s expectations. She includes darker sonatas too, such as the lovely, introspective K217 and the desolate K213, where her playing is perhaps too impressionistic: Pletnev’s version, for example, though more romanticised, is also more sharply defined, in both its form and its emotional tone. Still, a delightful disc.

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Piano International, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing