Antonio Soler was a Spanish monk, a keen theologian and a disciple of Domenico
Scarlatti but the younger man's harpsichord sonatas are far more interesting.
The F sharp minor sonata included here is very attractive with its
reoccurring five note striding bass and exquisite melodic lines. It is played
with great affection. It is a lovely piece.
The Haydn Sonata no 1 in C has always been a favourite among pianists
and pupils. A short three- movement work; it is not a masterpiece by any
means, but it is given a good reading here and Ms Leach's ornamentation is
very helpful to students and fellow pianists alike.
I assume time did not permit recording the complete Partita no 1 in B
flat by J S Bach although we would have easily excluded eight minutes
of the sickly and repetitive Schubert Impromptu in A flat.
Jo's performances are good and honest and, while I do not want to typecast
her, her playing is a wonderful model for students as I have already indicated.
Mendelssohn is one of the greatest composers of all time but for reasons
I have never understood he is not recognised as such. As Jo Leach displays
on this disc, there is a freshness and sincerity about his music.
Half of the disc is devoted to Mozart, The D minor Fantasie K397 is
the antithesis of the C minor Fantasia K475 which latter work is
depressing in content. The earlier Fantasie is light and airy and
has a coherent structure. The final work, the famous Sonata in A K331
with its concluding Turkish rondo is played well but we have so many recordings
of this popular piece that one wonders if another is required although the
Stodart piano of c1823 is a fine instrument. The Peter Katin version on Olympia
OCD230 is hardly going to be bettered and his tone is ravishing and his finger
work is an absolute delight.
But Jo Leach's recording is probably how Mozart would have heard it on the
pianos of his day. It is, therefore, of great interest.