Domenico Scarlatti wrote a lot of notes. 555 keyboard sonatas. This one is prestissimo and many of them allegro, allegro molto, allegrissimo, and allegro o presto! O, Wow! Of course, it’s not how many notes, but how they’re arranged and related and what’s in between them and a lot of other things that are indistinguishable from magic.
Scarlatti was born in Naples in 1685, the same year as Bach and Handel, and lived the last thirty-eight years of his life in Spain and Portugal. He taught a princess in Portugal for fourteen years and went with her when she married and became Queen of Spain. In Spain, he absorbed Flamenco and folk music and wrote and played and wrote, until he died in 1757.
There are many different versions of these sonatas – harpsichord and piano. It’s always interesting to hear different versions of pieces, as you get to know them. It may be my attachment to them or it may be intrinsic to these sonatas, but I am continually amazed at how different they can become in different hands. This one, K. 427 in G Major, is played on the piano by Serge Babayan.
This is desert island music for me. Though baroque and influential to classical style, Scarlatti’s music seems to have all kinds of odd harmonies and melodies or themes that sound surprisingly modern and moving. Not to mention the fact that it is a whole world you enter when you begin to listen. A big world. Round and endless. It’s a world I’m glad to get lost in.