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Domenico Scarlatti

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(1685 – 1757)

Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti (26th October 1685–23rd July 1757) was an Italian composer of the period, known primarily for his works, whose individual style had an influence on the style.

Scarlatti was born in Naples, Italy, the sixth of ten children, and a younger brother to Pietro Filippo Scarlatti, also a musician. Most likely he first studied under his father, the composer and teacher Alessandro Scarlatti; other composers who may have been his early teachers include Gaetano Greco, Francesco Gasparini, and Bernardo Pasquini, all of whom seem to have influenced his musical style.

He became a composer and organist at the royal chapel in Naples in 1701, and in 1704, he revised Carlo Francesco Pollarolo’s opera Irene for performance at Naples. Soon after this his father sent him to Venice; no record exists of his next four years. In 1709 he went to Rome in the service of the exiled Polish queen Marie Casimire; while in Rome he met Thomas Roseingrave who would later lead the enthusiastic reception of the composer’s sonatas in London. Scarlatti was already a harpsichord-player of eminence. There is a story that in a trial of skill with George Frideric Handel at the palace of Cardinal Ottoboni in Rome he was judged perhaps superior to Handel on that instrument, although inferior on the organ. Later in life, he was known to cross himself in veneration, when speaking of Handel’s skill.

Scarlatti died in Madrid, aged 71. His residence on Calle Leganitos is designated with a historical plaque, and his descendants still live in Madrid today.

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