AKA Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Location of death: Madrid, Spain
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Church of San Norberto, Naples, Italy
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Executive summary: Composed 555 sonatas
Composer, born at Naples on the 26th of October 1685. Presumably he studied first under his father, composer Alessandro Scarlatti, but he was in all probability also a pupil of Gaetano Greco. In 1704 he remodelled Pollaroli's Irene for performance at Naples. Soon after this his father sent him to Venice, where he studied under Gasparini, and became intimate with Thomas Roseingrave. Domenico was already a harpsichord player of eminence, and at a trial of skill with Handel at the palace of Cardinal Ottoboni in Rome he was adjudged his equal on that instrument, although inferior on the organ. In 1709 Domenico entered the service of Marie Casimire, queen of Poland, then living in Rome, and composed several operas for her private theater. He was Maestro di Cappella at St. Peter's from 1715 to 1719, and in the latter year came to London to direct his opera Narciso at the King's Theatre. In 1720 or 1721 he went to Lisbon, where he taught music to the princess Magdalena Theresia. He was at Naples again in 1725, but in 1729 went to Madrid as music master to the princess, who had married into the Spanish royal house. He remained in Spain for some twenty-five years, holding various honorable appointments, and devoting himself entirely to the harpsichord, for which he composed over four hundred pieces. He is supposed to have died in 1757, either at Naples or in Spain.
Like his father, Domenico Scarlatti was a composer of great fertility, intellectual rather than emotional, presenting us with an example of steady development of style up to the end of a long life. His operas and cantatas are of no importance, but his harpsichord pieces are the most original productions of their time. Little known until the beginning of the 19th century, their technical difficulties have caused them to be regarded as mere studies in virtuosity, and modern pianoforte technique owes much to their influence; but considered from a purely musical point of view they display ar audacity of harmony and modulation, a freshness and variety of invention, a perfection of workmanship and a vigorous intellectuality in thematic development that places them almost on a level with the sonatas of Beethoven.
Father: Alessandro Scarlatti (composer)
Wife: Anastasia Maxarti Ximenes (#2, one child)
Wife: Maria Catalina Gentili (d. 1739, five children)
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