Antonio SOLER (1729-1783)
13 Sonatas
Sonata in D, R.86 [5:40]
Sonata in D minor, R.24 [4:49]
Sonata in C sharp minor, R.21 [6:14]
Sonata in D flat, R.110 [4:23]
Sonata in A minor, R.118 [3:29]
Sonata in C minor, R.19 [2:55]
Sonata in C, M.27 [9:00]
Sonata in F, R.56 [7:10]
Sonata in D, R.92d [5:40]
Sonata in D minor, R.39 [3:04]
Sonata in G minor, M.38 [5:54]
Sonata in D, R.74 [4:53]
Sonata in G, R.43 [3:47]
Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805)
Fandango (from: Guitar Quintet in D, G.448), transcr. for two harpsichords* [5:46]
Richard Lester (harpsichord)
David Ponsford (harpsichord II*)
rec. no details given (compilation). DDD
NIMBUS NI5906 [72:49]
Antonio Soler's star is definitely waxing these days, at least as far as recordings go, with a good quantity of recent monographs across many labels. Some of these are single volumes in cycles currently in hand. Examples include Pieter-Jan Belder's on Brilliant Classics or the multi-artist project on Naxos - this latter more controversially using a modern piano. Others take a similar approach to Richard Lester here, serving up a choice selection of fruity, quirky, virtuosic Soler.
In his notes Lester assigns all the sonatas in his recital to one of three categories, not always in jargon-free language: those of a dance-like nature with "echoes of the guitar punteado and rasgueado styles", those approximating the new Galant style of the time, and those which "are slower and more vocal in nature [...] with a hint of the melismatic expression found in cante hondo".
Soler was influenced by Domenico Scarlatti, an honorary Iberian whose own five-hundred-plus keyboard sonatas are much better known. Anyone who enjoys Scarlatti's sonatas will find much to entertain and surprise in the mere 200-odd written by Soler, who was in many respects a more adventurous keyboardist - "the devil in monk's clothing", as one moniker had it - and arguably the greater composer. Certainly there are few if any better advocates for these pieces than Lester, a composer's musician who plays without cliché or affectation, his open-toed scholarliness striking just the right course between precision and warmth, pizzazz and coherence, devil and monk.
Unlike Soler, the slightly younger Luigi Boccherini did not write a fandango - or anything much, for that matter - for harpsichord. The one heard here is Lester's own arrangement for two instruments of the final movement of the guitar quintet in D, G.448 - mildly entertaining, but not a patch on the original. Lester's account of Soler's much-recorded Fandango is on another Nimbus disc, where he shares the programme with Portuguese composer Carlos Seixas, born a generation earlier than Soler (NI 5836).

Sound and technical quality are up to Nimbus's usual high standards, with minor variation in what is after all a compilation
The booklet is fairly concise, with more information about harpsichord secondo David Ponsford than Boccherini, but generally covers as much ground as the non-specialist listener will require, including a brief description of the various instruments heard in this recording. Ponsford is lucky enough to own the two period replicas used for the Boccherini recording.
Collected reviews and contact at
There are few if any better advocates for these pieces than Lester.



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