Haydn & Scarlatti – Chiaro E Scuro – Olivier Cave (2015) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Haydn & Scarlatti – Chiaro E Scuro – Olivier Cave (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:17:36 minutes | 1,17 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Digital Booklet | © Aeon/Outhere Music France
Recorded: 4-6/01/2015, Sendesaal, Bremen

An original programme with which the Swiss pianist Olivier Cavé succeeds in summarizing two universes that might, however, a priori appear remote: Domenico Scarlatti vs. Joseph Haydn. In the same album, Olivier Cavé confronts two complementary visions of the keyboard. ‘With this project, I wanted to connect these two composers,’ he tells us, ‘for, when playing Haydn, I always had the feeling that he was familiar with Scarlatti’s music.’ For these two composers, the keyboard is the alphabet of a distinctive language; in a style both playful and mischievous, they composed with a bantering humour, unlimited amusement, unfailing virtuosity and a perfect sense of description. Paradoxically, the two composers meet in their slow movements, of unparalleled simplicity and amazing naturalness that give this music, generations apart, very great lyrical depth. This recording shows to what degree the impact of Scarlatti’s music on Haydn’s keyboard compositions is undeniable. For this project, Olivier Cavé has relied on the learned advice of the American musicologist Elaine Sisman.

The booklet for this release on France’s Outhere label devotes considerable space to trying to demonstrate that Joseph Haydn might have known the keyboard sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti. The argument isn’t implausible-several of the paths lead through the opera librettist Pietro Metastasio, who threw work the young Haydn’s way and apparently had a collection of Scarlatti pieces-but it’s at least partly irrelevant. There may be a “shared artistic sensibility” between Scarlatti and Haydn, based on a certain bent toward the unexpected, but in terms of technical structure the analogy doesn’t hold up: Scarlatti uses two-part texture because that was a common way of writing keyboard music in the Baroque, while Haydn uses it because he was writing technically simple music for pianists of modest means, including himself. The Scarlatti sonatas interspersed among the multi-movement Haydn pieces on the album come off not as manifestations of a shared sensibility but as brilliant virtuoso pieces juxtaposed with placid, even if inventive, Classical ones. All this said, the performances by French pianist Olivier Cavé are sharp, and the contrast is an unusual one, effectively carrying something of the great shift from Baroque to Classical sensibilities. The Haydn sonatas are early pieces (one called a Divertimento, another a Partita), and Cavé is among the pianists who are finding striking things in the keyboard music of the first part of Haydn’s career by applying a modicum of seriousness to the music. The excellent studio sound from the Bremen Sendesaal is a major attraction. Recommended for sheer novelty and for some great music that’s not so often played. -AllMusic Review by James Manheim


Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Sonata in D major, Hob XVI – 37
1. I. Allegro con brio 05:49
2. II. Largo e sostenuto 03:50
3. III. Finale. Presto ma non troppo 03:06

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
4. Keyboard Sonata in G Major, Kk. 425 02:54

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Partita in G major, Hob XVI – 6
5. I. Allegro 05:13
6. II. Menuetto 04:27
7. III. Adagio 03:48
8. IV. Finale. Allegro molto 02:28

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
9. Keyboard Sonata in E Major, Kk. 495 04:00

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Divertimento in C major, Hob XVI – 10
10. I. Moderato 03:07
11. II. Menuet – Trio 02:56
12. III. Finale. Presto 02:41

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
13. Keyboard Sonata in G Major, Kk. 432 02:03

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Sonata in F major, Hob XVI – 23
14. I. Allegro 04:24
15. II. Adagio 05:44
16. III. Finale. Presto 03:33

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
17. Keyboard Sonata in A Major, Kk. 342 02:11

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Sonata in D major, Hob XVI – 24
18. I. Allegro 04:13
19. II. Adagio 03:46
20. III. Finale. Presto 02:06

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
21. Keyboard Sonata in B-Flat Minor, Kk. 128 05:17

Olivier Cavé, piano