Pierre Hantaï, Scarlatti Sonatas, "2". (p) 2005 Mirare I recently came across the 2nd of the 3 volumes Hantaï has released. It was harder to find than "1" and "3." What a sound! He always seems to find really good sounding harpsichords. An interesting essay is to be found inside, with some thoughts on Scarlatti. He tells us that some Scarlatti sonatas aren't that good, and that some can bore him when listened to--if not played well. To him, "well" is with some passion. Hantaï brings his own brand of passion to 16 tracks by Domenico Scarlatti. The real gem is track 9, the Sonata K 261. Many of these sonatas are new to me, and despite their freshness, they're played with unlazy fingers and a both a tonal and interpretive brightness. The ultimate track could be played (K 84) any number of ways, but here Pierre Hantaï's real gift is revealed: he has that "art of touch" -- relishing in the sound of his instrument, and in the mechanics of Scarlatti's writing. The opening Fuga, K 58, reminds me of a Bach fugue. Where did it come from? What's its history? Is it true Scarlatti? Or had Domenico picked up on the keyboard fugue tradition? If so, he wrote a gem of an interesting piece. It's not Bach-caliber, but close, and the sound is rich and sunny. Hantaï is among my favorite harpsichordists today. His recordings on Mirare have all been excellent, this release included. Not all of Scarlatti's sonatas for me, are the best works. But Scarlatti is like a mood--and certain moods need certain music. I love the sound of Hantaï's instrument, and his selection of what to play are likely favorites. They are each interesting and different. Gems like track 9 and track 2, K 239, are likely to stop your thoughts and simply beg your full attention.