Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

Haiku Wednesday: Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonatas To Match Your Mood

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Portrait of Domenico Scarlatti painted in 1738 by Domingo Antonio Velasco

Melancholy? Blue?
Domenico Scarlatti
Wrote something for you.

Overjoyed? Happy?
Domenico Scarlatti
Wrote something snappy!

Need soothing and mild?
Domenico Scarlatti
Lulls you like a child.

Whatever your mood,
Domenico Scarlatti
Has that attitude.

A few nights ago I heard a keyboard sonata by Domenico Scarlatti at a student recital, and it caught my ear.  It was bright and delicate, and simply wonderful.  So I went home and listened to a bunch of Scarlatti.

It’s easy to do.  Scarlatti wrote over 500 keyboard sonatas, and they are short pieces, typically one movement (nonetheless, the Scarlatti Complete Sonatas box set by Scott Ross consists of 34 CDs!).  So if you look long enough, you’re sure to find something to match your mood.

Looking to start your day with something light and cheerful?  Try the Sonata in G major, K. 2.

Or perhaps you’re in the middle of your day, and ready for something really lively.  How about the Sonata in C major, K. 159?

Maybe you’ve already finished a full day of work, and are looking for something soothing.  Here is Vladimir Horowitz performing Scarlatti’s Sonata in B minor, L. 33 (K. 87), one of my favorites.

If you’re a Horowitz fan, there are a number of videos of his performances of Scarlatti, and it’s a delight to watch his fingers dance across the keys.  If you’re a fan of Glenn Gould, Andras Schiff, Mikhail Pletnev, Ivo Pogorelich, or, going back further, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, they made fine recordings of Scarlatti keyboard sonatas, each with their own take on the music.

Want to hear all of them on virtual harpsichord?  John Sankey has all the Scarlatti sonatas available for listening or download on his websiteClaudio Colombo has recorded them on a digital piano.  You can also hear and download Scarlatti sonatas on this beautifully illustrated Czech Radio site (they have a project underway and hope to offer all of them at some point).  The latter site has useful categories such as melancholic, cheerful, hit song, fast, slow, and…difficult (for you keyboard players who would like to road test them).

So why not do a little exploring?  You’re sure to find something to suit your mood!

_____

Image attribution: Portrait of Domenico Scarlatti painted in 1738 by Domingo Antonio Velasco. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ARetrato_de_Domenico_Scarlatti.jpg

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