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Dip Your Ears, No. 216 (A Scarlatti-Haydn Romance)

available at Amazon

J.Haydn, D.Scarlatti
Chiaro e scuro (Keyboard Sonatas)
Olivier Cavé

I love this disc of Haydn and Scarlatti, partly because it spells out—literally (in Elaine Sisman’s perfect liner notes) and musically (through the pairing of the music)—what I have long, intuitively felt, namely that these two composers share a common genial, sunny disposition. Sisman sees a common rhythmic inventiveness and a sense of joy of creation. The booklet’s essay, almost itself worth the price of admission, explores the fascinating, actual proximity of these two composers through their interactions in Vienna. To the musicologically inclined, it reads like the latest Arthur Conan Doyle story: “The Mysterious Case of the Spanish Hoboken Numbers.”

Olivier Cavé’s playing coaxes immediately arresting joy out of already joyful works (this, at the risk of overlooking Scarlatti’s dark and somber side) and indeed, by the time Cavé hits the Haydn Partita’s Allegro, Haydn begins to sound like Scarlatti and Scarlatti begins to sound like Haydn as the music starts swimming before my ears. The inclusion of the Haydn Divertimento is most appreciated; the Allegro moderato of the F major sonata No38 is a thin slice of heaven. In terms of placing music into context and blurring the perceived borders, this is second only to Marino Formenti’s “Kurtag’s Ghosts” or “Liszt-Inspections” I am thoroughly enchanted… which is the reason, of course, this landed on my Best Classical Recordings of 2015 list. 

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