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A Sonata for All Seasons: Domenico Scarlatti

Today’s blog looks to composer Domenico Scarlatti and his works. Born in Naples in October 1685, Domenico Scarlatti was the son of the other Scarlatti: his father Alessandro, who is primarily known for his vocal music and operas. Although Domenico Scarlatti wrote vocal works like his father, he is instead known for his harpsichord sonatas.   Like other composers of the 18th century, Domenico Scarlatti made his living composing for and teaching members of the aristocracy throughout the Mediterranean, including Venice, Rome, Lisbon, Seville, and Madrid, which is where he died on this day (July 23) in 1757.

Although only a small portion of his compositions were published in his lifetime, Scarlatti’s keyboard pieces finally found a larger audience when Alessandro Longo prepared an edition of nearly all the harpsichord sonatas in 1906. Many of Scarlatti’s harpsichord sonatas have a recognizable style: many incorporate Spanish and Portuguese tonality and rhythmic language, and most are single movement works in binary form (that is, an A Section, usually repeated, followed by a B Section, also repeated). Scarlatti wrote many other pieces besides his harpsichord sonatas, including operas, liturgical music, and other vocal pieces.

Here is a selected list of materials we have in the NLS Music Collection by or about Domenico Scarlatti:


25 Sonatas for Piano
BRM21342 – section by section

BRM15601 – bar over bar
BRM09804 – bar over bar

Introductory Notes and Thematic Table from Complete Works for Harpsichord, Vol. 1 (ed. By Alessandro Longo)

Selected Sonatas for the Piano (contains 15 Scarlatti sonatas)
BRM35990 (vol. 1, vol. 2) – bar over bar

Sixty Sonatas (ed. By Ralph Kirkpatrick)
BRM25801 (vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3, vol. 4, vol. 5) – bar over bar
BRM36272 – bar over bar

Sonata in A major, K. 113
BRM11054 – bar over bar
BRM20921 – section by section

Sonata in D minor, K. 9, “Pastorale”
BRM09803 – bar by bar
BRM00417 – bar over bar

Sonata in D, K. 27
BRM36528 – bar over bar

Sonata in F minor, K. 466
BRM36855 – bar over bar

Sonata in F minor, K. 519
BRM28514 – bar over bar

Sonata in G minor, K. 30, “Cat’s Fugue”
BRM15593 – bar over bar
BRM05409 – bar by bar

Sonates: Volume IX (contains K. 408-457)
BRM29014 – bar over bar

Twelve Easy Scarlatti Sonatas
BRM27600 – bar over bar

Large print

Selected Sonatas (contains 17 Scarlatti sonatas)


The Fugue
This book discusses the development of the fugue, including Scarlatti’s sonata K. 30 (“Cat’s Fugue”) in G minor (DBM00070).

The Keyboard Instruments
This book discusses the evolution of keyboard instruments, and discusses some of Scarlatti’s sonatas (DBM00250).

If you’d like to order hard copies of this material for loan, would like to download the materials from BARD and need some guidance, or if you would like to explore more materials of the NLS Music Collection and learn about our service, please email us at [email protected], or give us a phone call at 1-800-424-8567, extension 2. We are happy to help and look forward to hearing from you.

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