Solid Scarlatti From Alberto Urroz

Review by: Jed Distler

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Artistic Quality: 8

Sound Quality: 9

As the artistic director of the Mendigorria International Music Festival in Spain, pianist Alberto Urroz has produced and created multidisciplinary programs featuring music, art, and dance. I mention this only because color and movement inform his Scarlatti playing, meaning that his rhythmic sense is informed by dance, and he discreetly varies his timbre to imbue repeated phrases with variety and to underline the composer’s tangy dissonances. For example, he enlivens the ubiquitous “Pastorale” K. 9 Sonata in D minor with delightfully accented upbeats, and dabs of detaché articulation.

Perhaps observing all of the C major K. 132’s repeats is too much of a good thing, yet Urroz’s deliberation holds your attention by way of his crisply delineated embellishments and a sense of air between the notes that is hard to describe yet easy to hear. The heels on the C major K. 133’s dancing shoes kick up a whirling storm, while, by contrast, the more introspective K. 44’s shifts from major to minor mode are beautifully differentiated.

Urroz’s reflective take on the “Cat’s Fugue” K. 30 seems less about a curious creature walking across a harpsichord than my red tabby Shooby plopping next to me on the couch (not that Urroz knows my cat, but you get the idea!). And the D major K. 96 “La Chasse” lacks bracing lilt, whereas Horowitz’s repeated notes and trills truly scintillate at a similarly measured tempo. In all, there’s lots of engaging music-making afoot, and if you share my weakness for investigating Scarlatti piano collections, give this release a spin.



Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Scarlatti Sonatas (selections): Horowitz (Sony); Pletnev (Virgin Classics)

  • Alberto Urroz (piano)

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