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American Record Guide: (11/2016) 
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Mirare 
MIR285




Code-barres / Barcode : 3760127222859(ID569)

 

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Reviewer: Bradley Lehmann
 

It’s music to bring a smile and tapping toes. Hantai plays 17 sonatas here: Kirkpatrick numbers 212, 247, 144, 133, 204a, 279, 533, 405, 402, 403, 381, 208, 456, 457, 302, 201, and 45. The booklet does not explain why he plays K 247 a semitone higher than its usual key. There are three earlier volumes of this series for Mirare, which I have not heard, but I have Hantai’s much older Astrée recording of 22 sonatas (1992). This new “Volume 4” makes me want to catch up, and the boxed set reissuing volumes 1-3 (“50 Sonatas for Harpsichord”) makes it easy to do that. Hantai keeps tempos basically steady, filling the space with small expressive nuances on top of a “hot” touch where he plays the notes very short. It makes the music sound energetic. I can listen to only about half an hour of these at a time, as they leave me feeling caffeinated in these  performances. The slow sonatas are a welcome relief from the bristling drive and are invested with details that hold the attention. Hantai is never dull. I went through A-B comparisons in the four sonatas that are remakes from the Astrée album (K 144, 204a, 208, and 456). His Italianstyled harpsichord on Astrée has its charms, but his playing now is much more imaginative and richly layered. The rhythms and ornamentation are freer, and Hantai projects more intensity in lightly slower tempos. The harpsichord  here is a German-styled double from 2004, built by Jonte Knif. Nickolai Sheikov’s recent disc on Musica Omnia is another one I have enjoyed, with great sound and a brisk interpretive approach similar to Hantai’s (S/O 2015). For a wilder ride to knock yourself off any seat, try the three CDs by Enrico Baiano on Symphonia and Stradivarius. It’s tremendously exciting with Baiano’s extreme bending of tempos, probing every nuance of Scarlatti’s compositions.
 


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