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Thread: Scarlatti's piano sonatas

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    Senior Member Clouds Weep Snowflakes's Avatar
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    Default Scarlatti's piano sonatas

    Scarlatti was a Baroque-Classical transitional composer, right? I just listened to two sonatas, and I really like them! They sound a bit like Bach and a bit like Mozart; I do hope he wasn't forgotten till the 20th century like Vivaldi, who of course was also an Italian Baroque composer...do you like his works? What else do you have to recommend from this composer?


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    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Well Scarlatti did not actually write any piano sonatas and he died within a few years of Bach and Handel, which chronologically places him firmly in the Baroque. He wrote in the style galant which prefigured classical (Bach's Italian Concerto is also an example of this)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galant_music

    Scarlatti was Italian by background, but spent his career in Spain and incorporated alot of Spanish influences in his music

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    He’s considered Baroque, but for me Scarlatti could be lighter in spirit, more cosmopolitan, experimental and progressive than Bach or Handel and isn’t as easily defined as a Baroque composer, though he clearly lived within that period. He has qualities that I find sparkling, fresh & delightful, and he would often incorporate the life that was going on around him in his works, such as the influences of the Spanish guitar.

    Last edited by Larkenfield; Jul-27-2019 at 03:28.
    "That's all Folks!"

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    Senior Member Clouds Weep Snowflakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    Well Scarlatti did not actually write any piano sonatas and he died within a few years of Bach and Handel, which chronologically places him firmly in the Baroque. He wrote in the style galant which prefigured classical (Bach's Italian Concerto is also an example of this)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galant_music

    Scarlatti was Italian by background, but spent his career in Spain and incorporated alot of Spanish influences in his music
    What did he compose if that's the case? And what about the two examples I gave? They weren't originally piano sonatas?

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    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clouds Weep Snowflakes View Post
    What did he compose if that's the case? And what about the two examples I gave? They weren't originally piano sonatas?
    Everything was written on a Harpsichord

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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    Folks who like baroque music on piano tend to be confused.

    To avoid any confusion or conflict, I think it's best to call them solo keyboard works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    Everything was written on a Harpsichord
    I don’t think so. For one thing, person he was writing for had some pianos and some of the sonatas seem to work very well on piano.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jul-27-2019 at 07:12.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clouds Weep Snowflakes View Post
    And what about the two examples I gave? They weren't originally piano sonatas?
    I’m afraid there’s no simple answer to your question.

    For example, the second example, K1, comes from a book Scarlatti had published called “30 keyboard exercises” for an instrument called a “gravicembalo’ Now gravicembalo is ambiguous, it can refer to a piano or a harpsichord. However I think that this sonata benefits from the brilliance of a harpsichord. Would Scarlatti have written a piece like that if he were thinking piano? I doubt it.

    The other sonata was never published, it was written specially for Scarlatti’s employer, a princess. She had access to loads of instruments - pianos, harpsichords, clavichords. And the music can fit on many of them without much tinkering around. I can't hear anything in it which fits better on harpsichord than on piano.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jul-27-2019 at 08:24.

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    Junior Member Jokke's Avatar
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    Daniel Barenboim explains about the Scarlatti sonatas played on piano :



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    He works rather well on guitar too


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    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    I have a wonderful Scarlatti guitar recital by Narciso Yepes.

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    Well he wrote several sonatas for mandolin and keyboard, they're quite charming. A mandolin is a bit like a guitar isn't it?

    Presumably you have to do a fair amount of shenanigans to get the keyboard music to fit on a guitar, I mean you've only got one hand to pluck with. The 380 in that clip takes a big step back in the transcription and gains nothing in the process as far as I can see, not even from the point of view of the melodies. Fun to play I imagine.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jul-28-2019 at 14:52.

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    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post

    Presumably you have to do a fair amount of shenanigans to get the keyboard music to fit on a guitar, I mean you've only got one hand.
    Not too much - obviously every sonata does not work, but the textures of the sonatas transport better than,say, Back. In addition, living in Spain DS incorporated a lot of guitar textures in his music - you can hear, rasgueado-like passages in K501 for example.

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    That’s interesting. Re Bach, have you heard this? Some people love it - though unfortunately not me.

    08E5A6CA-4524-4453-87F9-D1825CBD3A11.jpeg
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jul-28-2019 at 16:03.

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    Senior Member Clouds Weep Snowflakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jokke View Post
    Daniel Barenboim explains about the Scarlatti sonatas played on piano :


    Barenboim is a very talented musician, he flames some opposition in Israel due to his leftist political stances (he even has Palestinian citizenship), but I like him.

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