Born in 1685, the same year as Bach and Handel, Domenico Scarlatti spent the majority of his career in the service of the Portuguese and Spanish royal families. Like his father Alessandro, Domenico wrote in a variety of forms, and chief among his output are the many sonatas written for keyboard – works that proved influential in the development of the Classical style.
The compositions detailed in this release are unique in that they are modern arrangements, based on a series of keyboard sonatas originally written for solo violin (or woodwind) and continuo. As a result, they differ from Scarlatti’s genuine works for the instrument, which prefer a single-movement binary structure to the multi-movement form exhibited here – a form which uses the Sonata da chiesa’s ‘slow–fast–slow–fast’ scheme in all of the pieces except K89, whose 3-movement layout compares to the early-18th-century violin sonata.
Containing many expressive features such as the chromatic-based four-semiquaver figure that pervades the opening movement of K81, these delightful works have been skilfully adapted to suit the compilation’s duo arrangement. They are performed with aplomb by Gregoletto and Modena – a partnership that has contributed many fine recordings to Newton Classics’ keyboard library, and whose engaging playing on this release allows fresh insight into a small but significant area of Italian Baroque music.
Recorded in 1993
New booklet notes by the Italian music scholar Andrew Woolley
“Scarlatti never composed sonatas for two harpsichords so Gregoletto and Modena fall back on arrangements - played with a fastidious intelligence that misses out on smouldering sensuality.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.