Thursday, November 10, 2005

God bless you, Domenico Scarlatti

While i could easily spend the rest of my blogging career prattling on about the wonders of Prokudin-Gorskii's photos, i wont. I've chosen to prattle about music instead.

And what wonderful music im listening to! Scarlatti is another one of those countless underrated composers. His "Sonatas" are incredible, absolutely timeless and glittering. Within them are all different shades of emotion, unusual combinations and shifts, and ideas everywhere. These are rich works, filled with thoughts and daring (his harmonies can be quite advanced, and especially adventurous considering the period)

Is this late Haydn? Early-ish Beethoven? its almost impossible to tell in parts, truly ahead of its time. Through all this has a liveliness, the music at times hits a poignancy and depth that is unmatched in much of the keyboard music of the period. Homophony mixes freely with light counterpoint, clearly laying the ground for classicism and beyond. Listen to such beauties as his Sonata K 380, such delicacy and sweetness that could have easily been written in 1840 and still sounded modern.

Sonata K. 531 sounds like Shumann, no joke, i just finished listening to Kriesleriana and the resemblance is startling, while K 493 sounds like a Haydn Sonata, and Scarlatti's early work is clearly rooted in the baroque tradition. So you've got it all, all in on measly set of... eh... 550 works for keyboard.

1 comment:

PWS said...

I also love Scarlatti and I have to say though I've always wanted to play his music but it is VERY difficult (for me). You have to have the dexterity of a cat. And not one of those tabbies. I'm talking Persian Shorttails!

You should check out the documentary "Art of the Piano" which is a survey of the great concert pianists from the late 1800s to now.There is an absolutely badass clip of Arturo Benedetto Michelangeli playing a speedy Scarlatti sonata complete with quick angle cuts for all the hand over hand action.