SCARLATTI, D.: Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 7 (Andrew Walton/ Konstantin Scherbakov) (Naxos: 8.554842)
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Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
Complete Sonatas Vol. 7
the ten children of the composer Alessandro Scarlatti,Sicilian by birth and chiefly responsible for the earlydevelopment of Neapolitan opera. The Scarlatti familyhad extensive involvement in music both in Rome andin Naples, where Alessandro Scarlatti became maestrodi cappella to the Spanish viceroy in 1684. DomenicoScarlatti started his public career in 1701 under hisfather's aegis as organist and composer in the vice-regalchapel. The following year father and son took leave ofabsence to explore the possibilities of employment inFlorence, and Alessandro was later to exercise paternalauthority by sending his son to Venice, where heremained for some four years. In 1709 Domenicoentered the service of the exiled Queen of Poland, MariaCasimira, in Rome, there meeting and playing againstHandel in a keyboard contest, in which the latter wasdeclared the better organist and Scarlatti the betterharpsichordist. It has been suggested that he spent aperiod from 1719 in Palermo, but his earlier connectionwith the Portuguese embassy in Rome led him beforelong to Lisbon, where he became music-master to thechildren of the royal family. This employment took himin 1728 to Madrid, when his pupil the Infanta MariaBarbara married the heir to the Spanish throne. Scarlattiapparently remained there for the rest of his life, hismost considerable achievement the composition ofsome hundreds of single-movement sonatas orexercises, designed largely for the use of the Infanta,who became Queen of Spain in 1746.
The keyboard sonatas of Domenico Scarlattisurvive in part in a number of eighteenth centurymanuscripts, some clearly from the collection of QueenMaria Barbara, possibly bequeathed to the great Italiancastrato Farinelli, who was employed at the Spanishcourt, and now in Venice. Various sets of sonatas werepublished during the composer's lifetime, including aset of thirty issued in Venice or, perhaps, in London in1738, and 42 published in London by ThomasRoseingrave in 1739, including the thirty alreadyavailable from the earlier publication. In more recenttimes the sonatas were edited by Alessandro Longo,who provided the numerical listing under L, and in 1953the American harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick offereda new listing, distinguished by the letter K. Stylisticgrounds have suggested a further changed listing byGiorgio Pestelli, under the letter P., and proposing anew chronology.Keith Anderson