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Cover
Domenico Scarlatti

Aurelia Saxophone Quartet

Sonatas / Salve Regina

Product is no longer available
  • Type CD
  • Label Challenge Classics
  • UPC 0608917202427
  • Catalog number CC 72024
  • Release date 01 January 1998

About the album

On this album you can listen to harpsichord sonatas by Scarlatti in arrangements for saxophone quartet by Willem van Merwijk, Johan van der Linden, Hans van der Heide and Arno Bornkamp.

Sonata for Harpsichord in C major, K 159/L 104 "La caccia"

Preserved in the 1752 first Venice volume of Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas, this work likely predated that manuscript source by a year or two. That makes this C major effort a late work, despite the fact that almost 400 more keyboard sonatas would flow from Scarlatti's pen before his death in 1757. Listening to the work, however, one might believe its joviality and youthful playfulness clearly suggest it was the creation of a young man. But the ever-spirited, forward-looking Scarlatti produced many such pieces, early and late, throughout his distinguished set of 555 sonatas. 
Marked Allegro, the Sonata opens with a lively theme whose perky character and sense of joy are, if anything, enhanced by the mostly descending contour. The music effervesces as it moves in light patter about the keyboard, seeming to cackle or giggle in its busy but carefree work. The exposition, which is repeated in accordance with Scarlatti's usual sonata structure, is quite short, lasting but a minute or so, and is followed by the lengthier development portion of the work. Here the music transforms relatively little and the mood, too, remains quite joyful and light. This two-and-a-half minute work will delight the listener and challenge the performer. 

Sonata for Harpsichord in G minor, K 30/L 499 "The Cat's Fugue"

The first keyboard works by Scarlatti to be published were the so-named Essercizi (30) per gravicembalo, of which this G minor work was the concluding and perhaps most distinctive, piece. Though the publication dates to 1738, this work, like many of the others in that volume, may have been written some years before that. This sonata's nickname, "The Cat's Fugue," came from composer Muzio Clementi, probably a cat owner, and a man with an imagination vivid enough to associate the sometimes acrobatic movements of the player in this work with those of a meddlesome cat on the keyboard. As its nickname suggests, this sonata, marked Moderato, is a fugue and one of the composer's more serious early works. While Scarlatti rarely wrote music that invoked the style or spirit of Bach, this work presents a noble if somber theme whose fugal aspects suggest Bach. Still, the work is clearly from the pen of Scarlatti, whose imaginative development of the main material in the latter half of the work effectively deepens its expressive range. This sonata typically has a duration of three-and-a-half minutes.

Sonata for Harpsichord in E major, K 380/L 23

This E major work, now one of Scarlatti's most popular keyboard compositions, was preserved in the fourth Venice volume of his sonatas, dated 1754. The composer probably wrote it a year or so before the date on the manuscript, though it is possible it may actually have been written in 1754. Many believe it was around this time that Scarlatti had taken ill, owing to reports he was confined to his residence. He died in 1757, but nevertheless produced hundreds more keyboard sonatas in those last precious years. This E major effort, though marked Andante comodo, is much livelier than its tempo indication would normally suggest. 
The Sonata opens hesitantly, the music wanting to lunge forward, it would seem, but held back by an inner tentativeness or timidity. After this clever start-and-stop playfulness, the music jumps to its feet and turns quite lively. Soon a festive dance theme, one of Scarlatti's best known, is presented in stately chords, imparting a truly regal elegance to the atmosphere. In the second half of the work, Scarlatti develops the material from the exposition, focusing mainly on the latter portion featuring the famous tune. As with the exposition, the development section is repeated and then the Sonata ends, leaving the listener with a most memorable five minutes. 

Sonata for Harpsichord in G minor, K 30/L 499 "The Cat's Fugue"

The first keyboard works by Scarlatti to be published were the so-named Essercizi (30) per gravicembalo, of which this G minor work was the concluding and perhaps most distinctive, piece. Though the publication dates to 1738, this work, like many of the others in that volume, may have been written some years before that. This sonata's nickname, "The Cat's Fugue," came from composer Muzio Clementi, probably a cat owner, and a man with an imagination vivid enough to associate the sometimes acrobatic movements of the player in this work with those of a meddlesome cat on the keyboard. As its nickname suggests, this sonata, marked Moderato, is a fugue and one of the composer's more serious early works. While Scarlatti rarely wrote music that invoked the style or spirit of Bach, this work presents a noble if somber theme whose fugal aspects suggest Bach. Still, the work is clearly from the pen of Scarlatti, whose imaginative development of the main material in the latter half of the work effectively deepens its expressive range. This sonata typically has a duration of three-and-a-half minutes.

Sonata for Harpsichord in D major, K 430/L 463

This Sonata was preserved in the French publication by Boivin, Pieces pour le Clavecin, dating to the period 1742-1746. It was also found in manuscripts in Parma and Venice (No. 15). Out of the 555 keyboard sonatas in Scarlatti's canon, this D major effort bears the Kirkpatrick number 96, which might suggest to some that it is an early work. It was, however, written only a dozen or so years before the composer's death. It is a brilliant, ebullient work, multi-hued and full of sunshine, its upbeat spirit reflecting Scarlatti's generally happy demeanor and, at least in part, his long-held affinity for the key here, D major: 76 of his sonatas are in D major! 
Marked Allegro, the work opens with a chipper theme that turns almost ecstatic when it is taken up in the bass and accompanied by luminescent trills in the upper register. The second subject, really a slight variant of the main theme, is initially less cheery in mood but soon returns to the lighter, brighter world of the opening. In the second half of the Sonata, where Scarlatti typically devoted his skills to thematic development, the music takes on a busier, more probing manner, while shedding little of its sense of joy. 

Sonata for Harpsichord in D minor, K 52/L 267

The bulk of Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas date from the last decade or so of his life. In fact, about the last 400 come from the period 1752 - 1757. Interestingly, this D minor work may be one of the few keyboard sonatas composed when Scarlatti was still living in Portugal. It first appeared in a 1742 publication, which contained many works predating 1738, and a few written before 1729, the year the composer departed Portugal for Spain. This Sonata in D minor exhibits few of the Spanish musical elements that often filtered into his later compositions. Marked Andante moderato, it opens with a bright, stately theme that even divulges certain Italianate qualities (he spent the first half of his career in his native Italy), but also a serenity in its more than vaguely Bachian flow. Scarlatti imaginatively develops his thematic material in the latter half, the music taking on a slightly more serious and intense manner as it alternates between intense and relaxed moments. Less a sense of colorful and varied than most of Scarlatti's later sonatas, this composition is nevertheless quite rewarding. Typically, it has a duration of five or six minutes.

Sonata for Harpsichord in F minor, K 519/L 475

This is one of Scarlatti's most popular keyboard sonatas and also one of his more challenging for the performer. The composer employs colorful and quite thorny octave passages throughout and otherwise infuses the work with much virtuosic writing. Sacheverell Sitwell, a Scarlatti devotee, grouped the sonatas according to compositional features. Noting its almost frenzied energy, he classed this F minor composiiton as a tarantella. Like other popular sonatas from among the 555, such as the F major (K. 525), it is short -- generally a bit under three minutes -- and features Spanish folk elements. The work opens with a lively, playful theme whose energy and colorful manner are instantly appealing. It is also quirky, especially when its rhythmic drive is periodically interrupted by a swirling figure that seems to trip so gracefully over its own feet, so to speak. Interestingly, this sonata anticipates some of Beethoven's music in the heroic, driving chords that close the exposition. Scarlatti transforms his thematic material in the latter half, giving the music a mixture of muscle and delicacy, but keeping the same busy mood and sense of lightness.

Sonata for Harpsichord in B minor, K 87/L 33

Sprinkled amid Scarlatti's 555 keyboard sonatas are a handful that give no tempo indication in the score. Most are early works, as this B minor effort likely is. Preserved in the fourteenth Venice volume of the composer's sonatas, which bears the date 1742, it was most probably written some years before that time, perhaps in the 1730s, though it may actually date back considerably further still. 
While it lacks a tempo marking, this Sonata is obviously meant to be paced like an Andante or Adagio. Some modern recordings of the work, like the Pogorelich on DG, list the tempo as Andante. In any event, the work opens with a slow, mournful theme played mostly in the middle register, but seeming to struggle toward the upper ranges of the keyboard. In its second subject the music does rise higher, as if achieving some sort of angelic comfort, but without dispelling its sense of sorrow. In the second half of the work Scarlatti, following his unique sonata structural pattern, subjects the material in the exposition to thematic development. Here the music remains melancholy and actually transforms relatively little, while taking on a somewhat more stately character. In the end, one must assess this six-minute Sonata as one of the composer's more profound early works. 

Descriptions are from:
www.arkivmusic.com
Robert Cummings
 

Challenge Classics Artists in Concert

25-02-2009

image The following artists will perform in March and April:Ralph RousseauMarch 8th 2009 Museumkerk Schokland NoordoostpolderMarch 15th 2009 Museum aan het Vrijthof MaastrichtMarch 21st 2009 hervormde Kerk JispApril 4th 2009 St. janskathedraal Den BoschApril 7th 2009 Grote Kerk Breda Combattimento Consort AmsterdamMarch 27th 2009 Sint Petruskerk OirschotMarch 28th 2009 Sint Petruskerk OirschotMarch 30th 2009 Sint Petruskerk OirschotApril 19th 2009 De Harmonie LeeuwardenApril 23rd 2009 De Kring RoosendaalApril 26th 2009 Concertgebouw AmsterdamCaecilia ConcertMarch 21st 2009 Noorderkerk AmsterdamMatangi QuartetMarch 11th 2009 Het Oude ...

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