Κυριακή, 17 Ιανουαρίου 2010

Domenico Scarlatti, Sonatas 141 and 531

Ακούμε σήμερα την σονάτα 141 για πιάνο του Domenico Scarlatti, σε μια εξαιρετική εκτέλεση από την Martha Argerich




και την σονάτα 531 για πιάνο σε εκτέλεση του Vladimir Horowitz



Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti (October 26, 1685 – July 23, 1757) was an Italian composer who spent much of his life in the service of the Portuguese and Spanish royal families. He is classified as a Baroque composer chronologically, although his music was influential in the development of the Classical style. His influential 555 sonatas were almost all written for the harpsichord with a few exceptions for chamber ensemble or organ.

He was the son of composer Alessandro Scarlatti.

Only a small fraction of Scarlatti's compositions were published during his lifetime; Scarlatti himself seems to have overseen the publication in 1738 of the most famous collection, his 30 Essercizi ("Exercises"). These were rapturously received throughout Europe, and were championed by the foremost English writer on music of the eighteenth century, Dr. Charles Burney.

The many sonatas which were unpublished during Scarlatti's lifetime have appeared in print irregularly in the two and a half centuries since. Scarlatti has, however, attracted notable admirers, including Frédéric Chopin, Johannes Brahms, Béla Bartók, Dmitri Shostakovich, Heinrich Schenker, Vladimir Horowitz and Marc-André Hamelin. The Russian school of pianism has particularly championed the sonatas.

Frédéric Chopin, as a piano teacher, notably wrote:

"Those of my dear colleagues who teach the piano are unhappy that I make my own pupils work on Scarlatti. But I am surprised that they are so blinkered. His music contains finger-exercises aplenty and more than a touch of the most elevated spirituality. Sometimes he is even a match for Mozart. If I were not afraid of incurring the disapprobation of numerous fools, I would play Scarlatti at my concerts. I maintain that the day will come when Scarlatti's music will often be played at concerts and that audiences will appreciate and enjoy it" [1].

Scarlatti's 555 keyboard sonatas are single movements, mostly in binary form, and are almost all intended for the harpsichord (there are four for organ, and a few where Scarlatti suggests a small instrumental group). Some of them display harmonic audacity in their use of discords, and also unconventional modulations to remote keys.

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