Domenico Scarlatti
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1685-10-26
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Domenico Scarlatti

Domenico Scarlatti Biography (BBC)

One of music’s great individualists, Domenico Scarlatti was born in Naples in 1685, the son of one of the most famous musicians of the day, Alessandro Scarlatti. Alessandro was primarily a composer of opera and church music, and in the early part of his career Domenico seemed to be heading in the same direction, first in Naples, then in Venice and finally in Rome, where in 1713 he became assistant and later maestro at the Cappella Giulia at St Peter’s.

It was his similar, parallel appointment at the private chapel of the Portuguese ambassador, however, that seems to have changed his life, as it was presumably this contact which led to his departure from Italy in the early 1720s to take charge of the patriarchal chapel in Lisbon. There he also acted as harpsichord tutor to the king’s daughter, the Infanta Maria Barbara, and when in 1728 she married the Spanish Crown Prince Fernando, Scarlatti followed her to Madrid. He was to remain a member of the Spanish royal household, apparently quite content with duties confined to teaching and playing the harpsichord, until his death nearly thirty years later.

Scarlatti’s reputation today rightly rests on his harpsichord sonatas – over 500 of them, mostly written for Maria Barbara – which over the years have been a treasured part of the repertoires of harpsichordists and pianists alike. Though few depart from a standardised and simple formal design – a single movement in two repeated halves – their virtuoso techniques and quirky surprises mark them out as the work of a highly active imagination, while their rhythmic vigour, harmonic sensuousness, open air excitement and drowsy lyricism seem a clear response to the seductive atmosphere of his adopted Spanish homeland.

Scarlatti’s vocal output is generally more conventional; a handful of secular chamber cantatas written in Spain echo the extrovert fantasy of the sonatas, but the church music he produced in Rome is mostly in the consciously conservative style favoured by the authorities there, and only the austerely expressive choral Stabat Mater and a beautiful late, Spanish Salve regina for soprano and strings have found a regular place in the modern-day repertoire. Much of the music of the 15-or-so operas he composed for Naples and Rome is lost. Frustratingly sketchy, also, are details of his character, from which we are perhaps left to conclude that, for one with such a strong creative personality, he was an unusually retiring man.

Profile © Lindsay Kemp


Domenico Scarlatti Performances & Interviews


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Domenico Scarlatti Tracks

Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in G minor, Kk.30 'Cat's Fugue'
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Sonata in G minor, Kk.30 'Cat's Fugue'

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Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in G major, K 431
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Sonata in G major, K 431
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in D major, Kk.96
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Sonata in D major, Kk.96
Domenico Scarlatti
Stabat mater a 10
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Stabat mater a 10
Domenico Scarlatti
Iste Confessor
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Iste Confessor
Domenico Scarlatti
Keyboard Sonata in E major Kk.380
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Keyboard Sonata in E major Kk.380
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in E minor, Kk81
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Sonata in E minor, Kk81
Domenico Scarlatti
Keyboard Sonata in F minor, K183
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Keyboard Sonata in F minor, K183
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in F minor, Kk466
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Sonata in F minor, Kk466
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in A Major, K.24
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Sonata in A Major, K.24
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in B flat major Kk.545
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Sonata in B flat major Kk.545
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in C major Kk.513
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Sonata in C major Kk.513
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in E major, KK.531
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Sonata in E major, KK.531
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in A minor K175
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Sonata in A minor K175
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in B flat major, K 472
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Sonata in B flat major, K 472
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in D minor Kk.141
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Sonata in D minor Kk.141
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in A Major
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Sonata in A Major
Domenico Scarlatti
Chaconne on a Theme by Scarlatti after Keyboard Sonata in D minor K 32
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Chaconne on a Theme by Scarlatti after Keyboard Sonata in D minor K 32
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in D major, K 29
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Sonata in D major, K 29
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in E major (Andante comodo), Kk.380
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Sonata in E major (Andante comodo), Kk.380
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata K 501 Allegro
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Sonata K 501 Allegro
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata K454 Allegro
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Sonata K454 Allegro
Domenico Scarlatti
Keyboard Sonata in E major, Kk.380
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Keyboard Sonata in E major, Kk.380
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata for Mandolin in D minor k.90
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Sonata for Mandolin in D minor k.90
Domenico Scarlatti
Keyboard Sonata in A major, K.113
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Keyboard Sonata in A major, K.113
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in D minor Fugue (K.41); Presto (K. 18)
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Sonata in D minor Fugue (K.41); Presto (K. 18)
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in C major, Kk.340
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Sonata in C major, Kk.340
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in D minor, Kk.141
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Sonata in D minor, Kk.141
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in D major, Kk.492
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Sonata in D major, Kk.492
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in C major, Kk.420
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Sonata in C major, Kk.420
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in B minor Kk.377
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Sonata in B minor Kk.377
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata Kk90
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Sonata Kk90

Sonata Kk90

Ensemble
Pizzicar Galante
Last played on
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in C major, K 132
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Sonata in C major, K 132
Domenico Scarlatti
3 Sonatas for piano
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3 Sonatas for piano

3 Sonatas for piano

Performer
Arturo Michelangeli
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in F minor, K.481
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Sonata in F minor, K.481
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in F major, Kk.6
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Sonata in F major, Kk.6
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in D major Kk.119
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Sonata in D major Kk.119
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in A major Kk.208
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Sonata in A major Kk.208
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in A minor Kk.175
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Sonata in A minor Kk.175
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in C major Kk.132
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Sonata in C major Kk.132
Domenico Scarlatti
Keyboard Sonata in D minor, K.141
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Keyboard Sonata in D minor, K.141
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in B minor (Kk.87)
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Sonata in B minor (Kk.87)
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in D major, K 491 arr Carlos
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Sonata in D major, K 491 arr Carlos
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in G minor, Kk.30 'Cat's Fugue'
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Sonata in G minor, Kk.30 'Cat's Fugue'
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in G minor (K. 88) for 2 harpsichords
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Sonata in G minor (K. 88) for 2 harpsichords

Sonata in G minor (K. 88) for 2 harpsichords

Performer
Dagmara Kapczyńska
Gwennaëlle Alibert
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in G major Kk.390
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Sonata in G major Kk.390

Sonata in G major Kk.390

Music Arranger
Julian Gray
Roland Pearl
Performer
Julian Gray
Roland Pearl
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in B minor, Kk.87
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Sonata in B minor, Kk.87
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in G major, Kk.13
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Sonata in G major, Kk.13
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in D major, Kk.535
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Sonata in D major, Kk.535
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