Luchesi’s Nondescript Sonatas, Superbly Played

Review by: Jed Distler

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Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 9

Born in 1741, the Italian composer Andrea Luchesi had a multi-faceted career. His operas were well regarded in their day, while he enjoyed renown as a keyboard virtuoso. In 1774 he was appointed to the court of Prince Elector Max Friedrich in Bonn. With the arrival of Napoleonic troops in 1794, Luchesi lost his job, and his reputation faded, leaving the composer to die in poverty in 1801. Today, Luchesi’s main claim to fame is that he was an early teacher of Beethoven.

Luchesi’s Op. 1 sonatas (for violin and harpsichord, here arranged for piano solo) are longer on charm and pleasantry than on invention or developmental prowess, and often give the impression of early Haydn or Mozart in embryo. Scarlatti’s style sometimes comes to mind, such as in the Sonata No. 2’s scampering Allegro molto finale. Phrases rarely deviate from square and symmetrical patterns, and as a consequence nothing much happens. Since the violin part basically doubles the piano’s right-hand lines, Roberto Plano simply merges them together.

If you know Plano’s 2012 Luchesi release on the Concerto label devoted to keyboard sonatas and rondos, you won’t be surprised by this wonderful pianist’s sensitive, intelligently inflected interpretations. Plano truly makes the music sound better than it is, and his artistry holds your attention. Play a sample or two of Luchesi for a fellow music lover, and have him or her try to guess the composer. If they say Luchesi, they’ve cheated by sneaking a look at the CD booklet or download information, or by reading this review. My rating primarily reflects Roberto Plano’s superb pianism and Brilliant Classics’ fine production values.



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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: This one

  • LUCHESI, ANDREA:
    Sonatas for Harpsichord & Violin Op. 1 (arranged for piano by Roberto Plano)
  • Roberto Plano (piano)

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