David's Review Corner
, March 2020
In my review of April 2017 I commented that the Brazilian-born Sergio Monteiro almost manages to recreate a harpsichord on a modern Steinway grand piano.
He almost put to one side my usual antipathy of hearing Domenico Scarlatti so badly treated as it is nowadays, his playing so crisp and neat, and his foot never coming near the piano’s sustaining pedal. Starting out with K.256 he continues through the one-movement sonatas to K.554, and, if today’s documentation is correct, it covers the period 1753 to 1757, the last four years of his life being spent in Madrid with the Spanish royal family, and a period when he composed several hundred of these delightful short sonatas, many hardly extending further than two minutes. They are not much more than an undeveloped theme, probably written just to please the Infanta Maria Barbara who had been his pupil. Such was the fame of the old composer throughout Europe, most of the music was first published in Vienna. The multi-award winning Monteiro has seemingly no particular bent towards the Baroque era, but, together with his previous disc, I would rate these as the outstanding releases in the cycle so far. Listen, for instance, to the fluidity of his runs where every note is of equal length in K.475—one of the more extended sonatas—and you will appreciate my admiration. He is much helped by the dry nature of the sound from the Wanda Bass School of Music in Oklahoma City where he is presently Director of piano activities. © 2020 David’s Review Corner