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Si!
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op 58 (1844) [27:54]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Piano Sonata in B minor, S.178 (1853) [30:43]
Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757)
Sonata, K87 [6:09]
Leticia Gómez-Tagle (piano)
rec. September 2018, Kulturzentrum, Immanuel
ARS PRODUKTION SACD ARS38270 [65:05]

The pairing of two of the most profoundly significant piano sonatas of the mid-nineteenth century – composed around a decade apart – makes for good programming. That all three sonatas – the little Scarlatti comes as a deft envoi, beautifully balanced and full of elegant gestures – are in the key of B minor adds to the binding connections of the disc. And that the Liszt and Chopin sonatas are two of the most performed and recorded in the repertoire is, of course, inevitable.

Mexican-born Leticia Gómez-Tagle is a thoughtful and sensitive Chopin player. The relaxed plasticity of her phrasing, her perceptive use of rubato and pedaling, and her refined touch are pleasurable features of this strong performance. Structurally in the Chopin she reminds me more of the proportions of a Fiorentino than a Cortot or Lipatti, who were both considerably more intense performers of the music. She prefers a more reserved but nevertheless potent approach in the Allegro maestoso, lithe articulation in the Scherzo, and a measured sense of refinement in the slow movement, where there is no sense of haste but similarly no indulgence. She refrains from the kind of overt emotionalism that can mar performances, preferring instead a naturally-breathed sense of expression. The gallop rhythm that opens the finale is finely judged and here she marries balance and clarity. Cortot’s torrential polarities are a world away.

There is a comparable sense of discrimination in the Liszt sonata. The ultra-virtuosic template established on disc by Horowitz sits at a profound remove to her conception, so too the relatively recent theatrics of the extraordinary performances by Mykola Suk and Minoru Nojima. Instead, she seeks to bind the work’s ruminative and passionate paragraphs in a way that makes sense of the sonata’s construction. Delicate tracery, the product of significant refinement of touch, is balanced by stringently strong chording. The result is a consonant conception of the work that brings us at its end, arch-like, to its opening gestures and has therefore generated a real sense of narrative.

Her own notes make for interesting reading and the recording has been finely judged. The two sonatas are recognizably the product of a pianist of elegance.

Jonathan Woolf



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