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Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy|Scarlatti: Sonatas

Scarlatti: Sonatas

Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy

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"An eagle whose wings are grown", according to his father Alessandro, the young Scarlatti left his native Naples for Venice, "escorted only by his own ability". Born in Italy in 1685, Domenico Scarlatti spent the majority of his career in the service of the Portuguese and Spanish royal families – with the latter appointment enabling him to devote his full attention towards composing for the harpsichord. This unusual cultural background accounts for why the Italian’s music, though contemporary with that of Bach and Handel, differs so much in comparison; Spanish dance rhythms (such as the flamenco), and folk tunes with Moorish and gypsy-like flavours, indicate that day-by-day-street life was a great source of inspiration to Scarlatti.

By his early 20s he had already held audiences in thrall with an ability at the harpsichord which was deemed almost supernatural. There is assuredly the most prodigal imagination at work, as well as an extraordinarily sophisticated keyboard technique, in the 555 surviving keyboard sonatas which fuse Italianate cantabile and counterpoint with vivid Hispanic imagery: folksong, castanets, military trumpets and strumming guitars.

All these qualities can be enjoyed in Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy’s selection of 17 sonatas. Several of them are taken from the collection of Kk. 1-30 (in the catalogue produced by Ralph Kirkpatrick) which comes down to us as the earliest source of the sonatas in print, published shortly before he moved to Lisbon, thence to Madrid and around the royal courts of Spain, in the service of the princess who would become the Queen of Spain. Her patronage afforded Scarlatti the time and resources to evolve a highly personal style, full of eccentricity and flights of fancy.

Written in single-movement form, Scarlatti’s sonatas reveal the development of new playing techniques, including note repetitions and fast passages in parallel 3rds and 6ths, as well as the innovation of musical structures, which point to the emerging Classical style. Hardly less than Bach, these sonatas have become for many pianists a proving ground for their own technique and imagination, rewarding an improvisatory response to their flamboyant effects. However, Schmitt-Leonardy also features several of the composer’s most poetic and reflective sonatas such as the Aria, Kk. 29 and the melancholy soliloquy of Kk. 208.

Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy was born in Saarlouis, Germany, in 1967, and his first important teacher was a student of Walter Gieseking and Edwin Fischer. His quintessentially pianistic approach to Scarlatti exploits all the colouristic possibilities of a modern grand, while articulating the quick sonatas with sparkling deftness of touch. © Piano Classics

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Scarlatti: Sonatas

Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy

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1
Sonata in D Minor, K.01: I. Allegro
00:02:31

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

2
Sonata in D Minor, K.32: I. Aria
00:02:27

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

3
Sonata in D Major, K.33
00:03:42

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

4
Sonata in B Minor, K.87
00:06:30

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

5
Sonata in D Major, K.29: I. Presto
00:04:56

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

6
Sonata in B Minor, K.27: I. Allegro
00:03:48

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

7
Sonata in G Major, K.427: I. Presto quanto sia possible
00:02:10

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

8
Sonata in C Major, K.132: I. Cantabile
00:08:36

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

9
Sonata in E Minor, K.98: I. Allegrissimo
00:03:19

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

10
Sonata in E Major, K.136: I. Allegro
00:05:03

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

11
Sonata in E Major, K.162: I. Andante-allegro
00:05:25

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

12
Sonata in A Major, K.208: I. Adagio e cantabile
00:05:58

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

13
Sonata in A Major, K.39: I. Presto
00:02:42

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

14
Sonata in A Major, K.322: I. Allegro
00:04:10

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

15
Sonata in G Major, K.455: I. Allegro
00:03:22

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

16
Sonata in C Major, K.95
00:03:24

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

17
Sonata in F Minor, K.466: I. Andante moderato
00:09:28

DOMENICO SCARLATTI, Composer - Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy, Artist, MainArtist - Piano Classics, MusicPublisher

2022 Brilliant Classics 2022 Brilliant Classics

Approfondimenti

"An eagle whose wings are grown", according to his father Alessandro, the young Scarlatti left his native Naples for Venice, "escorted only by his own ability". Born in Italy in 1685, Domenico Scarlatti spent the majority of his career in the service of the Portuguese and Spanish royal families – with the latter appointment enabling him to devote his full attention towards composing for the harpsichord. This unusual cultural background accounts for why the Italian’s music, though contemporary with that of Bach and Handel, differs so much in comparison; Spanish dance rhythms (such as the flamenco), and folk tunes with Moorish and gypsy-like flavours, indicate that day-by-day-street life was a great source of inspiration to Scarlatti.

By his early 20s he had already held audiences in thrall with an ability at the harpsichord which was deemed almost supernatural. There is assuredly the most prodigal imagination at work, as well as an extraordinarily sophisticated keyboard technique, in the 555 surviving keyboard sonatas which fuse Italianate cantabile and counterpoint with vivid Hispanic imagery: folksong, castanets, military trumpets and strumming guitars.

All these qualities can be enjoyed in Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy’s selection of 17 sonatas. Several of them are taken from the collection of Kk. 1-30 (in the catalogue produced by Ralph Kirkpatrick) which comes down to us as the earliest source of the sonatas in print, published shortly before he moved to Lisbon, thence to Madrid and around the royal courts of Spain, in the service of the princess who would become the Queen of Spain. Her patronage afforded Scarlatti the time and resources to evolve a highly personal style, full of eccentricity and flights of fancy.

Written in single-movement form, Scarlatti’s sonatas reveal the development of new playing techniques, including note repetitions and fast passages in parallel 3rds and 6ths, as well as the innovation of musical structures, which point to the emerging Classical style. Hardly less than Bach, these sonatas have become for many pianists a proving ground for their own technique and imagination, rewarding an improvisatory response to their flamboyant effects. However, Schmitt-Leonardy also features several of the composer’s most poetic and reflective sonatas such as the Aria, Kk. 29 and the melancholy soliloquy of Kk. 208.

Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy was born in Saarlouis, Germany, in 1967, and his first important teacher was a student of Walter Gieseking and Edwin Fischer. His quintessentially pianistic approach to Scarlatti exploits all the colouristic possibilities of a modern grand, while articulating the quick sonatas with sparkling deftness of touch. © Piano Classics

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