Concert Series Songlines
Concert Hall
Plan Your Visit
Music At Mills
Giving To Mills
Featured Concert


back to the concerts list »

Thursday, October 5, 2017
7:30 pm
Music Building Ensemble Room
Free Admission

The Mary L. and Tony Bianco Lecture Series

Janet Schmalfeldt
Domenico Scarlatti, Escape Artist:
Sightings of His ‘Mixed Style’ Towards the End of the Eighteenth Century

Domenico Scarletti, Escape ArtistA permanent move at the age of 34—from Italy into the private services of Princess Maria Bárbara, in Portugal and then in Spain—allowed Domenico Scarlatti to escape fame, the influence of his European contemporaries, and stylistic classification.  In the absence of a convincing category for Scarlatti’s music—post-Baroque? pre-Classical? galant? transitional?—Scarlatti scholar W. Dean Sutcliffe resorts to the apt expression “mixed style.”  But Sutcliffe acknowledges that “much about the Scarlatti sonatas demands to be considered in the light of the Classical style,” and so do I.  In particular, the specific type of two-part form that the composer employs in most of his extant 550 keyboard sonatas was hardly unique on the continent during his lifetime, and that form continued to appear long after it had yielded to what we today call “the Classical sonata.” The composer’s musical “escape mechanisms”—surprising delays of expected outcomes by way of evaded cadences and “one-more-time” repetitions—can be “sighted” in much repertoire towards the end of the eighteenth century, especially in the music of Mozart.  On the other hand, no amount of comparison of Scarlatti’s music with that of later composers can diminish his “Spanish” flamboyance, his penchant for the juxtaposition of wildly different ideas within a single movement—in short, his unparalleled, signature contributions to keyboard music.  He remains forever one of the most unique and elusive composers it has been our privilege to love and perform.

Janet Schmalfeldt bio

Sign Up
Sign up for our mailing list, and you'll get all the latest updates.

Send me more info