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David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2016

The fifth release in the complete series of keyboard sonatas takes us numerically to the mid-point of Antonio Soler’s keyboard sonatas, here played on a modern piano. From a date point of view, they come from the early 1780’s which place them late in his life, the first three being in one movement, with the Fifty-eighth and ninth nothing more than a simple Rondo of a vivacious character. The following three are in multiple movements, the Sixty-first and Sixty-second among the most extended in his genre, and are unusual in having as their third movements a Minue di rivolti, a form of the Minuet seemingly peculiar to Soler. All six sonatas would have been composed with the newly created five octave harpsichord in mind, and though today they are frequently performed of a modern concert grand piano, we have to accept that the sound it produces totally changes the texture of the original. Here they are performed by Mladin Colic, the 2007 winner of Barcelona’s influential Maria Canals International Piano Competition. Stylistically he has a foot in both camps, more often than not using the crisp staccato sound we would hear from a harpsichord, mixed with a modicum of sustaining pedal, mainly when generating impact. Listen to the sprightly Allegretto of the Sixty-first and you have a taste of both, the scale passages having an admirable crispness of articulation. He is also adept at capturing the happiness that pervades the finale of the Sixty-first. The recording quality has a piano sounding more akin to a period instrument. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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