Dating scarlatti sonatas

20-Jul-2015 09:25 by 8 Comments

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In the second half of the Sonata, where Scarlatti typically devoted his skills to thematic development, the music takes on a busier, more probing manner, while shedding little of its sense of joy.

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This A major effort was preserved in the 15th and last of the Venice volumes containing Scarlatti's sonatas.

It was carnival time, so the player was wearing a mask.

“Either that’s the devil playing,” said Scarlatti, “or the famous Saxon” (meaning Handel).

It opens with a five-note idea in the upper register that is immediately answered, as well as mimicked, by a four-note statement in the bass.

The energetic main theme ensues, its busy music built upon the opening material.

Which is true, but there are classical pieces which get their power the same way as many pop songs, ie obsessing away at one thing with blinding clarity.

And yet, because of the huge sophistication of the language, the flavour is immensely subtle as well as strong.

Marked Alla breve -- Allegro, it is a bright, lively work, brimming with Scarlatti's characteristic busyness and sense of urgency, and offering a few substantial challenges to the soloist, as well.

As many know, Scarlatti's sonatas were one-movement affairs written in binary form, and this A major work is no exception.

His music is full of blazing sun and violent black shadows.

He’s famous for composing harpsichord sonatas, hundreds of them, nearly all in the same simple two-part form where each half is repeated (if you can’t stand the sound of the harpsichord, don’t worry – plenty of pianists have recorded Scarlatti’s sonatas).

Scarlatti was a virtuoso harpsichordist at a time when being a virtuoso really mattered.