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This is a refreshing brace of Scarlatti sonatas, played on a modern Steinway recorded at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, New York. The pianist known as ShiZ’ka (Shizuka Saeki-Arkus) has no problems interiorising, as she shows in the E major Kk162. While there could be more clarity to the piano recording in the robust D major Kk119, particularly in the bass, there is no doubting that ShiZ’ka has a resonance with Scarlatti’s style, and her disciplined prestidigitation is perfectly in place. The famous Kk9 (sometimes known as ‘Pastorale’) finds ShiZ’ka highlighting the limpidity of the music, though sometimes stretching this to extremes. Here, as in Kk390 and Kk518, she occasionally shies away from full dramatic effect.

The order of the Sonatas works beautifully, and indeed much of the playing is elevating, but ShiZ’ka’s readings only tell part of the story.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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