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Scarlatti [Nov. 4th, 2008|06:41 pm]
[Current Music |Scarlatti sonatas]

I confess that Scarlatti is not one of my top five favorite composers.  So many little tiny quick notes...all interesting, but hardly any time to hear the patterns they make before they're gone.  Scarlatti exceeds my short-term auditory memory and the sound overall is too twinkly.  One Scarlatti, as refreshing as a mouthful of very tart, very sparkly club soda with a lime squeezed into it.   Five or six Scarlatti sonatas in a row...too much.

The exception is a recording I have of Horowitz playing Scarlatti.   Somehow Horowitz infused a lifetime's musical sensitivity to more than right-notes-in-right-order-really-fast and suddenly Scarlatti acquires color, tone, mood...more than just sparkles, cascades, of speedy little note-dots.


[User Picture]From: gauroth
2008-11-05 01:44 am (UTC)
My Dad (Classical music nut and hi-fi nerd - though being 89 he doesn't know what 'nerd' means)has a Horowitz CD of Scarlatti, and it actually sounds like music rather than tinny tinkly-tinkly. I quite like Scarlatti as musical wallpaper when I'm doing something else: which is damning with faint praise, really. Give me Bach any time.

Mind, even Scarlatti sounds magnificent when played on my Dad's super hi-fi system VERY LOUDLY!!
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-11-05 01:40 pm (UTC)
We may have the same CD. This was remastered from an older recording, and there's some noise just audible--especially in the first two Scarlatti sonatas.

Scarlatti's not good writing music for me--it lacks the structural quality that makes Bach so much better for that purpose (though a lot of composers wander through my head as books progress...I'm not a Bach purist.) I also miss (except in this recording) the emotional flavors that I need for "writing-to" music. There's a Chopin Nocturne (Op. 72, No. 1, E-minor) on the same CD that's a great "write-to" piece for me, for certain kinds of situations. Very powerful emotionally--works either with book-situations that call out that set of melancholy/brooding/introspective or the opposite.
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[User Picture]From: jowake
2008-11-05 01:03 pm (UTC)
I'm not familiar with Scarlatti, but any music requires the right interpretation. Liszt can sound terrible played without the right sympathy etc. etc. His music is difficult to play and by the sound of it, so is Scarlatti's.

I notice you didn't talk about the election.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-11-05 01:43 pm (UTC)
I didn't talk about the election yesterday because I had already said what I had to say before. It was down to crossed fingers and prayer by then.

Scarlatti would be very difficult to play, I'm sure: technical demands very high, just hitting the right notes in the right order fast enough...and then, on top of that, to do more than just hit the right notes. You can get away with playing some composers' pieces more slowly, but slow Scarlatti misses the point.
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From: bluehairsue
2008-11-05 09:17 pm (UTC)
Agree. I *like* Scarlatti, but not very much at a time. "Virtuoso" is right -- whereas Bach can write great *simple* music (like the Anna Magdalena notebook pieces). Also, imho Scarlatti = harpsichord, in terms of keyboard music -- doesn't translate well to piano. Whereas Bach transcends instrumentation.
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2008-11-06 09:26 pm (UTC)
Ooh, ooh, can I tell you my Horowitz story? Briefly?

A classical music fan is walking through New York, and spots Horowitz ahead of him. With Schnabel. Curious, he follows them: down 42nd St, and into a low jazz dive.

Where they sit at a table in a shadowy corner, have a drink, like that; where, eventually, he summons up the nerve to approach them.

"Excuse me? Maestri? Can I just ask, why in the world have you come in here tonight?"

"We've come to hear him," says Horowitz, nodding at the pianist on the stage.

"You? Two of the finest exponents the world can boast? And you have come to hear ... him? Why?"

"Because he's better than us."

The pianist, of course, was Art Tatum.
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