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David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2017

We have now reached the mid-way point in the complete keyboard sonatas of the Eighteenth century Spanish composer, Antonio Soler, in piano performances. Posterity is beholding to Father Samuel Rubio who gathered them together in seven volumes published in 1957. That might have come as a surprise to the composer who probably wrote many of them without any thought of public performance, and were teaching pieces or just for the pleasure of the young Don Gabriel, the son of the Spanish King Carlos III. It was more than probable that Soler, as a member of his Court, had at his disposal many instruments, and would have been aware of the weight and scope offered by the newly created five octave harpsichord. That availability of instruments of various size would equally account for the vastly different scores on this disc, the Sixty-eighth being extended in three movements, while the Sixty-ninth is a short one-movement Presto. Regular readers of my Soler reviews will know my dislike of these works being played on modern concert grand, where the crispness and pungency of the harpsichord is lost. Taken on their own merit, the two extended sonatas followed by six brief sonatas has obviously generated in the young multi-award winning Ukrainian, Regina Chernychko, a feeling of delight at discovering such pleasing music, and at least she keeps her trills very tight in a harpsichord tradition. Whether she uses sustaining pedal is open to question as the warm quality of the Spanish recording has an inbuilt resonance that adds smoothness. I particularly enjoyed the smiling account of the central Rondo of the Sixty-Seventh, and equally her rippling reading of the opening Cantabile of the Sixty-Eighth. Nimble fingers in the brief sonata that follows, though the Seventieth is in danger of running away with itself. In sum, I hope Naxos will record her in more modern repertoire. © 2017 David’s Review Corner





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