Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Len Mullenger:

Sonatas Vol. 6
Gilbert Rowland (harpsichord)
Naxos 8.554565 75'07"

I do not know how many volumes will comprise this integrale project to record the complete harpsichord music of this prolific Spanish monk, who entered the Escorial in 1752. Antonio Soler (1729-83) studied in the 1750s with Scarlatti, whose influence is apparent, and is credited with 150 harpsichord sonatas, some of which are thought to be intended to go in pairs. I have Vol. 1, dating from 1995 and performed on a Rubio 'French style' harpsichord. It similarly comprises 10 separate sonatas and a four movement one (Op. 4, No. 1). They are not recorded chronologically and the two CDs are not very different, though they use different instruments.

I cannot get on with Rowland's way with this music, nor is his Deegan/Taskin instrument very appealing. He clearly has researched thoroughly and mastered their demanding virtuosity technically. His own notes are informative and detailed. He writes of charm, rhythmic buoyancy, surprising modulations and poignant intensity, yet fails to convey these to the listener in his rigid, generally metronomic and uninflected playing. I suggest sampling before purchase and comparing with other reviewers who, we are assured, have received his CDs with considerable acclaim.


Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

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