Pierre Hantai – Handel – Scarlatti (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 01:08:36 minutes | 1,43 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Mirare
Handel and Scarlatti together? Long ago, in Rome (for a musical joust before the most eminent cardinals), in Venice (at a masked ball where Scarlatti recognised the faceless harpsichordist: “It could be no one but the famous Saxon, or the devil”), in London (where an opera by Scarlatti was staged).
Together again under the pen of Charles Burney, who celebrated them as the two supreme masters of the harpsichord, the ‘heavenly twins’.
And together once more in the little church in Haarlem to which Pierre Hantaï returns like a pilgrim.
Pierre Hantaï’s daring musicality, almost like a black sun, invites the listener to careful and repeated listening. To further confound us, the French harpsichordist mixes here his two main preoccupations of recent years, Scarlatti and Handel, who follow each other like brothers, hand in hand: the flamboyant world of the one clashes with the tragic brilliance of the other. There is little point in returning to the indisputable qualities of Hantaï’s playing in each of these repertoires: from his laughing, mischievous, extreme, dense Scarlatti bursts the joy of a visionary composer; and his Handel, with an unknown fullness of sound, is imbued with a tender lyricism.
The Suite No. 5 in E major, HWV 430, with the famous final Variation on the air of the “Harmonieux forgeron”, surely represents the high point of this recital. The polyphonies, carried by singularly intense phrasing (Allemande), radiate with a clarity that is as luminous as it is poignant, and on the harpsichord, the Air and Variations has probably never been performed with such fluency and sense of contrast. What a sense for the line in the statement of the theme! Suddenly one thinks: isn’t it time for Pierre Hantaï to immerse himself again—on record—in the work of Johann Sebastian Bach?
This is essential listening. – Pierre-Yves Lascar
1. Il pastor fido in D Minor, HWV 8a: Ouverture (Arr. for Harpsichord by Pierre Hantaï) (04:58)
2. Suite in D Minor, HWV 437: I. Allemande (04:33)
3. Suite in D Minor, HWV 437: II. Corrant (01:47)
4. Suite in D Minor, HWV 437: III. Sarabande (03:18)
5. Suite in D Minor, HWV 437: IV. Menuetto and Variations (04:09)
6. Suite in D Minor, HWV 437: V. Gigue (01:54)
7. Sonata in E Minor, K. 147 (05:15)
8. Sonata in A Major, K. 24: Presto (05:30)
9. Sonata in A Major, K. 429: Allegro (03:17)
10. Suite No. 5 in E Major, HWV 430: I. Prélude (02:09)
11. Suite No. 5 in E Major, HWV 430: II. Allemande (05:31)
12. Suite No. 5 in E Major, HWV 430: III. Courante (02:13)
13. Suite No. 5 in E Major, HWV 430: IV. Air and Variations “The Harmonious Blacksmith” (05:06)
14. Sonata in D Major, K. 443: Allegro (04:53)
15. Sonata in G Minor, K. 12: Presto (03:49)
16. Sonata in G Minor, K. 546: Cantabile (05:08)
17. Sonata in B-Flat Major, K. 16: Presto (05:06)