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Scarlatti: Father & Son

Scarlatti: Father & Son

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Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) and his son Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) were two formative Italian composers of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Alessandro was one of the main representatives of the Neapolitan school, a great innovator of Baroque music and especially known for his vocal music such as operas, oratorios, cantatas, etc. His son Domenico became famous above all for his numerous compositions for keyboard instruments. But he was also active in the field of vocal composition. On this album, cantatas by both Scarlattis are effectively combined with sonatas by Domenico.

These sonatas are quite rightly among the most original of their genre in the 18th century. Alessandro wrote over 600 cantatas, Domenico over 500 sonatas, both finding artistic fulfilment in the study of a minimally scored genre. In cantata and sonata, they were able to experiment freely and without regard to the pressure of opera productions to succeed. Both limited themselves to the same form (da capo aria and bipartite sonata form), which they reworked again and again with never-ending creativity. Both loved rich harmonies: Alessandro's preference is for enharmonic confusions, Domenico, perhaps influenced by Iberian popular music, has an almost obsessive love of Phrygian cadence and acciacaturas. Both are masters of counterpoint and fugue. Domenico's relatively unknown church compositions in the strict Palestrina style are testimony to this. The numerous "movement errors" in his sonatas are deliberate and skilful steps of a mature master who only follows his ear and taste.

Father and son had differed above all in the choice of affect: It is difficult to find happy and joyful moments in Alessandro's cantatas. The affect most often depicted in his work is unhappy love. With Domenico, on the other hand, there are many exuberant and cheerful sonatas which, despite all the cloudiness, always return to the initial joyful affect. In Alessandro, the minor is predominant; in Domenico, the major and minor are in balance. Alessandro prefers slow to moderate tempi (Lento, Adagio, Andante), Domenico prefers fast tempi (Allegro, Presto, Prestissimo). It is very attractive to be able to experience these two composers and their compositional characteristics together on one recording. The ensemble TENTA LA FUGA (after the eponymous title of an aria by Alessandro Scarlatti) is a trio formation dedicated to vocal baroque music from around 1700. Its members are internationally renowned artists and graduates or teachers of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and the Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse de Lyon. Their improvisation-based playing is shaped by performance practice research results developed at these institutes.

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Prospero Classical
    • UPC/Barcode: 4262353970232
    • Item Number: PROSP0066