Antonio Soler (1729-83) lived at the tail end of the Rococo age, traversing the baroque and classical eras. His mentor was none other than Domenico Scarlatti – famous for yes, all of those amazing little miniatures that he called “sonatas”. It is hardly surprising that some of Soler’s most affecting works are a piece of the same name, though unlike Scarlatti, he often moved beyond the normal two-movement format favored by the Italian. He also wrote masses, quintets, and other forms, but when his music is remembered, it is most likely the sonatas that we will be hearing.
And they are a wonder. Some far surpass Scarlatti in their energetic rhythms typical of Spain, and often his melodiousness extends beyond the more fragmentary approach by his master. Listening to the eleven on this well-filled disc (plus the famous Fandango and a contemporary collage by Libero Mureddu called Soler delirium—cute but not essential in its use of many tracks and some artificial devices) gives me a new appreciation for his music that I have more often than not sampled in harpsichord collections. Hearing it played with the dexterous nimbleness of Davide Cabassi, who proves himself as master of this art like few I have ever encountered, makes me return again and again to this delicious disc. Even the last three sonatas given, in C, D, and E minor, are worth the price of admission. Sound to die for only ups the ante for this colorful, entertaining, and rewarding disc—and for once, on piano! Grab it!
— Steven Ritter