Scarlatti

Domenico Scarlatti

(1685-1757)

Domenico Scarlatti

Scarlatti was the first great composer of short pieces for the harpsichord.  Today, we play them on the piano and they are just as good.  Scarlatti himself did not name most of the pieces, but simply called them “exercises.”  Evidently, some 19th century music publisher decided that exercises wouldn’t sell well, so he renamed all 545 of the pieces “sonatas.”  We still call them sonatas today, but they are not sonatas in the classical style of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

There is a large variety for the pianist in these pieces, even though none of them is a classical sonata.  This group of pieces includes dances, songs without words, etudes, toccatas, capriccios, fugues, and literally all manner of short pieces.  They are written in all keys, and include all modern keyboard techniques such as fast scales and arpeggios, large leaps, octaves, crossing of hands, and large dissonant chords.  They are listed on programs simply by their number, but we are including a short description of the style of each.

Sonatas

  • L1 in C – Jolly dancing eighth notes and triplets with trills and arpeggios
  • L2 in C – Slow triplet dance with trills and repeated notes
  • L4 in C minor – Slow aria in three
  • L5 in C – Jolly dancing eighth notes with fast scales
  • L10 in C minor – Dancing eighth notes with alternating 16th notes
  • L12 in D – Graceful 3/4 march, not fast
  • L14 in D – Lilting 6/8 with fast scales
  • L15 in D – Etude with fast scales and arpeggios
  • L21 in E – Slow lyric dance alternating with a fast bouncy dance
  • L23 in E – Processional in 3/4 time
  • L27 in F minor – Slow swing dance
  • L29 in B-flat – Etude in 3/8 with fast scales and broken chords
  • L30 in F – Fast fugue in 3/8
  • L33 in B-minor – Slow, soulful song
  • L50 in B flat – Etude with Fast 16th notes
  • L53 in G – Fanfare in 3 with trills and triplets
  • L55 in C – Bouncy dance in 3/8
  • L58 in D minor – Medium gavotte with trills
  • L63 in E – Lilting 3/8 dance with trills
  • L75 in F – Lively gigue and minuet
  • L79 in G – Graceful dancing triplets
  • L81 in G – Dancing 16th notes etude with broken thirds
  • L 83 in G
  • L84 in G – Capriccio in 2/4
  • L93 in A minor – Etude with repeated 16ths and scales
  • L94 in A – Bouncy capriccio
  • L104 in C – Hunting song in 6/8
  • L125 in G – Bouncy 6/8 with big jumps
  • L132 in A – Lilting berceuse with scales
  • L136 in A minor – 14 variations with varied tempos
  • L140 in A minor – Etude in 3/8 with broken thirds and broken chords
  • L162 in D – Fast 3/8 dance with broken chords
  • L166 in F – Fast overture in F with flowing 16ths
  • L266 in D minor – Etude with fast scales and Alberti bass
  • L281 in F minor – Slow march in 3/4 with broken octaves and scales
  • L286 in G – Etude with fast 16ths and broken thirds – H’s favorite.
  • L352 in C minor – Stately dance with cross-hands
  • L375 in E – Fast sparkling dance with fast scales
  • L413 in D minor – Graceful, lilting dance in 6/8
  • L422 in D minor
  • L423 in D minor – Slow, soulful aria
  • L428 in A – Dancing 8th notes with 16th Alberti bass
  • L445 in G – Lilting dance in 12/8
  • L454 in C – Fast, dancing 8th notes alternating with whole note aria
  • L475 in C – Ornamented, slow aria
  • L483 in A – Stately march in 4/4