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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

"S" For.. Scarlatti Sonatas

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Read also: Ralph Kirkpatrick: A Bibliography and Discography

Once Upon the Internet turns to the music of Domenico Scarlatti, the great Italian keyboard master whose sonatas paved the way for the massive works by Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the many classical and late-baoique works of Padre Soler, Mozart and Haydn.

Ralph Kirkpatrick (1911 – 1984), whose performances are featured today, was an American musician, musicologist and harpsichordist. A renaissance man, he's a pioneer of what will become the Historically Informed or authentic movement - he is most famous for his chronological catalog of Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas.

After graduating (Art History) from Harvard University, Kirkpatrick went on to further studies with Nadia Boulanger and harpsichord revival pioneer Wanda Landowska in Paris, as well as Arnold Dolmetsch in Haslemere, Heinz Tiessen in Berlin and Günther Ramin in Leipzig. From 1933 to 1934, he taught at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. A Guggenheim Scholarship later enabled him to study manuscripts and sources in Europe.

While in Europe during the 1940′s, he completed research into the life and works of Scarlatti which he had begun in the late 1930′s. He discovered descendants of Scarlatti living in Madrid and they provided him with valuable sources of information. Twelve years of research culminated in Kirkpatrick’s acclaimed biography of Scarlatti (Domenico Scarlatti, Princeton University Press, 1983, 1953. Crowell, 1968.). In this book, he also catalogued Scarlatti’s keyboard sonatas - these are now conventionally designated by their Kirkpatrick numbers (shown as Kk. --, and more recently with a single K.), which is now considered the standard, authoritative numbering system for Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas (despite at least two rival systems).

In 1953, Kirkpatrick’s edition of 60 Scarlatti sonatas was published and he also recorded these sonatas for Columbia. It is that recording that is the source for today's playlist.

A word of caution - I don't care how much one loves the sound of the harpsichord or even loves the Scarlatti form of the sonata (more akin to what Chopin called Etudes than what Beethoven called sonatas), two hours of that stuff can be too much in one sitting. To truly savour these to the maximum, I'd recommend planning to listen to these over two or three sittings. That's just me...

Happy (and measured) listening!


Domenico SCARLATTI (1685 - 1757)

Sonatas for Harpsichord (Kirkpatrick, R., Scarlatti, Domenico. Sixty Sonatas, G. Schirmer, 1953) - selections

  • No. 1 (K. 3, Longo 378) In A Minor
  • No. 2 (K. 7, Longo 379) In A Minor
  • No. 3 (K. 16, Longo 397) In B-Flat Major
  • No. 4 (K. 18, Longo 416) In D Minor
  • No. 5 (K. 28, Longo 373) In E Major
  • No. 6 (K. 29, Longo 461) In D Major
  • No. 8 (K. 46, Longo 25) In E Major
  • No. 9 (K. 54, Longo 241) In A Minor
  • No. 10 (K. 57, Longo S. 38) In B-Flat Major
  • No. 11 (K. 84, Longo 10) In C Minor
  • No. 12 (K. 52, Longo 267) In D Minor
  • No. 13 (K. 96, Longo 465) In D Major
  • No. 14 (K. 105, Longo 204) In G Major
  • No. 15 (K. 115, Longo 407) In C Minor & No. 16 (K. 116, Longo 452) In C Minor
  • No. 17 (K. 119, Longo 415) In D Major & No. 18 (K. 120, Longo 215) In D Minor
  • No. 23 (K. 208, Longo 238) In A Major & No. 24 (K. 209, Longo 428) In A Major
  • No. 25 (K. 215, Longo 323) In E Major & No. 26 (K. 216, Longo 273) In E Major
  • No. 27 (K. 238, Longo 27) In F Minor & No. 28 (K. 239, Longo 281) In F Minor
  • No. 29 (K. 259, Longo 103) In G Major & No. 30 (K. 260, Longo 124) In G Major
  • No. 31 (K. 263, Longo 321) In E Minor & No. 32 (K. 264, Longo 466) In E Major
  • No. 33 (K. 308, Longo 359) In C Major & No. 34 (K. 309, Longo 454) In C Major
  • No. 39 (K. 402, Longo 427) In E Minor & No. 40 (K. 403, Longo 470) In E Major
  • No. 41 (K. 420, Longo S. 2) In C Major & No. 42 (K. 421, Longo 252) In C Major
  • No. 43 (K. 426, Longo 128) In C Minor & No. 44 (K. 427, Longo 286) In C Major
  • No. 45 (K. 460, Longo 324) In C Major & No. 46 (K. 461, Longo 8) In C Major
  • No. 47 (K. 470, Longo 304) In G Major & No. 48 (K. 471, Longo 82) In G Major
  • No. 49 (K. 490, Longo 206) In D Major & No. 50 (K. 491, Longo 164) In D Major & No. 51 (K. 492, Longo 14) In D Major
  • No. 52 (K. 493, Longo S. 24) In G Major & No. 53 (K. 494, Longo 287) In G Major
  • No. 55 (K. 516, Longo S. 12) In D Minor & No. 56 (K. 517, Longo 266) In D Minor
  • No. 59 (K. 544, Longo 497) In B-flat Major

Ralph Kirkpatrick, harpsichord
(Recorded in 1954)
Downloaded from Public Domain Classic, 12 March 2011

Internet reference:

Internet Archive URL:

September 20 2013, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "Schumann & Schumann" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel . Read more September 20 on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.

Updated May-15-2015 at 20:24 by itywltmt

Classical Music , Musicians , Recorded Music


  1. itywltmt's Avatar
    We are featuring the music from this post as part of our ongoing “222 day Binge Challenge” on the For Your Listening Pleasure podcast September 18 and 19, 2021. The following notes are an update with useful links we have created or discovered since the original post.

    As I discussed in the original post, the tracks I downloaded from Public Domain Classic did not contain all sixty sonatas from the set recorded by Ralph Kirkpatrick in the 1950’s. After further research, I believe the source could have been an Italian CD reissue containing 53 sonatas (Discogs link here). The Discogs reference in the original post points to a CBS Odyssey reissue of the sixty sonatas “in two volumes”, but the link itself points to Volume 1 only. The better link is to the original 1960 box set from Columbia (SL-221).

    In order to complete the set, I found (and assembled) some YouTube clips remastering the sixty sonatas in digital/faux stereo. The playlist is here:

    I uploaded the missing sonatas from those clips and added them to the original archive page (link in above original post)

    Happy (further) listening!