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Domenico Scarlatti

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Domenico Scarlatti

Biography

Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti (also known as Domingo or Doménico Scarlatti 26 October 1685, Naples(then a kingdom) – 23 July 1757, Madrid, Spain) was an Italian composer.

Scarlatti was the sixth of ten children of the composer and teacher Alessandro Scarlatti. He first studied music under his father. Other composers who may have been his early teachers include Gaetano Greco, Francesco Gasparini, and Bernardo Pasquini, all of whom may have influenced his musical style. Muzio Clementi brought Scarlatti's sonatas into the classical style by editing what is known to be its first publication.

He was appointed as composer and organist at the royal chapel in Naples in 1701. In 1703, he revised Carlo Francesco Pollarolo's opera Irene for performance at Naples. Soon afterward, his father sent him to Venice. After this, nothing is known of Scarlatti's life until 1709, when he went to Rome and entered the service of the exiled Polish queen Marie Casimire. Scarlatti was already an accomplished harpsichordist: he has been heralded as the "greatest Italian harpsichord composer of all time". While in Rome, Scarlatti composed several operas for Queen Casimire's private theatre. He was Maestro di Cappella at St. Peter's from 1715 to 1719. In 1719 he traveled to London to direct his opera Narciso at the King's Theatre.

Scarlatti was in Lisbon from 1719 to 1727. In 1729 he moved to Seville, staying for four years. In 1733 he went to Madrid as a music master to Princess Maria Barbara, who had married into the Spanish royal house. Scarlatti remained in the country for the remaining twenty-five years of his life and had five children there.

Among his compositions during his time in Madrid were most of the 555 keyboard sonatas for which he is best known.

He is classified primarily as a Baroque composer chronologically, although his music was influential in the development of the Classical style. Like his renowned father, Alessandro Scarlatti, he composed in a variety of musical forms, although today he is known mainly for his 555 keyboard sonatas. Aside from these, Scarlatti composed a number of operas, cantatas, and liturgical pieces. Well-known works include the Stabat Mater of 1715 and the Salve Regina of 1757, which is thought to be his last composition.

Only a fraction of Scarlatti's compositions were published during his lifetime; Scarlatti himself seems to have overseen the publication in 1738 of the most famous collection, his 30 Essercizi (Exercises). These were well received throughout Europe, and were championed by the foremost English writer on music of the eighteenth century, Charles Burney.


The minor planet 6480 Scarlatti is named in the composer's honour.


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