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Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757)
Sonata K135 in E [4:03]
Sonata K12 in G minor (arr. Tausig) [4:14]
Sonata K247 in C sharp minor [4:39]
Gigue K523 in G (arr. Friedman) [2:20]
Sonata K466 in F minor [7:25]
Sonata K487 in C (arr. Tausig) [2:41]
Sonata K87 in B minor [4:26]
Walter GIESEKING (1895-1956)
Chaconne on a theme by Scarlatti (K32) [6:43]
Domenico SCARLATTI
Sonata K96 in D [3:52]
Sonata K9 in E minor (arr. Tausig) [3:49]
Sonata K70 in B flat [1:42]
Pastorale K446 in D (arr. Friedman) [5:09]
Sonata K380 in E [5:57]
Sonata K519 in F minor (arr. Tausig) [2:54]
Sonata K32 in D minor [2:45]
Joseph Moog (piano)
rec. 3-5 January, 2011, SWR Studio, Kaiserslautern, Germany
ONYX CLASSICS 4106 [62:40]

Joseph Moog’s Scarlatti recital is built on a fascinating premise: about half the tracks are in fact later arrangements (or “recompositions”) of the sonatas by romantic- and modern-era virtuosos. Carl Tausig, a student of Liszt who died at age 30, seems to have been primarily concerned with making the sonatas “work” on piano by beefing up the left-hand chords and adding a romantic heft. Ignaz Friedman, a phenomenal pianist, arranged two sonatas simply to make them more challenging and also filled them with chromatic harmonies befitting the early 20th century. Walter Gieseking, now the best-known of these pianists, composed his own Chaconne on a theme from the sonata K32.
 
The Gieseking is the most interesting thing here. It’s a compact but very powerful work, the sad nobility of the opening theme lending itself to a wide range of variations, and though nobody will confuse this Chaconne in D minor for Bach’s, Gieseking too includes a brief foray into the major key and a final snuffing out of that hope.
 
Joseph Moog’s piano-playing is often enjoyable but sometimes frustrating. His reading of K380 in E major is very slow (5:57), but in other places he can be fast enough to raise a clatter. I’m not sure why the sonata K32 is played about 20% slower by itself than it is as the theme to Gieseking’s variations. Moog does admirably play up the differences between Scarlatti in his original garb and Scarlatti done-up by the others. He’s unafraid to show us that Friedman’s Pastorale in D, K446, doesn’t really sound like Scarlatti at all, more like early Scriabin. Plus, Moog’s essay suggests he deserves some credit for tracking down the various unconventional arrangements we hear. This may not be Horowitz but it’s very well worth any Scarlatti lover’s time.
 
Brian Reinhart