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Scarlatti and Me
#3003100 07/15/20 06:01 PM
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In early 2018 I started going through the Scarlatti sonatas as daily sight reading exercise.

As of today, I'm done. All 562.

562 you ask?

I did the 545 catalogued by Longo, added the 10 more that Kilpatrick found (getting to 555), played the one discovered in the Morgan Library ('Cary 703'), and the 6 recently found in the Cathedral of Zaragosa by YaƱez.

Finishing is bittersweet. I'm definitely ready to move on, but it was also nice not having to think too hard about what to do for my sight reading exercise. Just turn the page and do the next one.

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If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?
Re: Scarlatti and Me
jon-nyc #3003105 07/15/20 06:13 PM
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Which is/are your favorite(s)?

Or you'd rather not play another one ever again?

(In which case, I recommend sight-reading through all of Sibelius's piano music: very different style, all of them little chips off the granite block, mostly completely unknown......)


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Scarlatti and Me
jon-nyc #3003109 07/15/20 06:31 PM
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I found some gems along the way, I didn't really keep formal track, though I PM'd a friend now and then with numbers so I could probably dig them up.


But I think my favorite sonatas from before this exercise are still my favorites. K87/L33, K54/L241, and K25/L481.


The Sibelius isn't a bad idea. Not at all.


If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?
Re: Scarlatti and Me
jon-nyc #3003111 07/15/20 06:33 PM
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What an amazing achievement! Somehow I doubt even some of the pianists famous for their Scarlatti playing have done what you achieved.

Re: Scarlatti and Me
jon-nyc #3003112 07/15/20 06:43 PM
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I've tried Sibelius piano music. Frankly, it's amazing the same guy managed to write these symphonies! shocked

Last edited by CyberGene; 07/15/20 06:44 PM.

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Re: Scarlatti and Me
jon-nyc #3003118 07/15/20 06:56 PM
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Congrats!
That is just great!!

Originally Posted by jon-nyc
I found some gems along the way...

Happens to me every time I open one of those Scarlatti volumes and go through a few of the pieces.
I got an extra kick whenever I'd find one and work on it and bring it to my teacher -- and he would say that 1 or 2 of them were new to him, "totally unfamiliar."

In college, when I started with my teacher there, I proposed that we should start with my working on all of Chopin's mazurkas. He refused. So I asked, how about instead we start with all of Scarlatti's sonatas. He thought I was joking. I hope I was. grin
However, I did have the passing thought of taking a leave of absence from school to just learn them. Good thing I didn't -- I'd still be on that leave of absence.


Question:
Were you glad when you got through the very last one, or sad?
My guess: 95% glad, 5% sad.

Re: Scarlatti and Me
CyberGene #3003121 07/15/20 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I've tried Sibelius piano music. Frankly, it's amazing the same guy managed to write these symphonies! shocked
Comparing Sibelius the symphonist with Sibelius the composer of short piano pieces that he wrote for money rather than posterity is a mistake - like comparing Tchaikovsky the symphonist with the Piotr who asked his housekeeper to remind him to write another 'Season' (month) a few days before the dateline.

But almost all of Sibelius's piano music, though the piano writing is unsophisticated, even simplistic when compared to his contemporaries' like Rachmaninov and Scriabin, is imbued with a distinctly Nordic and runic character:

Sonata - II https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwXBExhZVGY

Romance, Op.24/9 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G048GQNLJI

Impromptu, Op.5/5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWJJkYm_66E


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Scarlatti and Me
jon-nyc #3003128 07/15/20 07:44 PM
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Cool! Did you do one a day, or did you play several if they seemed easy, or only part of one if it was more difficult?


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Re: Scarlatti and Me
jon-nyc #3003141 07/15/20 08:36 PM
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What I would like to know is whether you feel like all that work actually paid off and did improve your sight-reading abilities?

Also: instead of buying all those books for the purpose of playing music that is in the public domain, and only playing it one time...have you ever heard of a $15 app called forScore?

Re: Scarlatti and Me
Mark_C #3003169 07/15/20 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Congrats!
Question:
Were you glad when you got through the very last one, or sad?
My guess: 95% glad, 5% sad.

THat's about right. As I was approaching the end I was thinking 'I'll be so pissed at myself if I screw up the last measure'.


If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?
Re: Scarlatti and Me
Stubbie #3003170 07/15/20 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
Cool! Did you do one a day, or did you play several if they seemed easy, or only part of one if it was more difficult?

Always a full sonata unless I got interrupted. And I tried to do one a day, and was good at it for well over a year. Then I sort of slacked off for a couple of months and hopped to it again this spring. I would only do a second if I played one of the (very few) one page sonatas that day.


If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?
Re: Scarlatti and Me
scriabinfanatic #3003172 07/15/20 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by scriabinfanatic
What I would like to know is whether you feel like all that work actually paid off and did improve your sight-reading abilities?

It did. I was a terrible reader. My sight reading was very weak in comparison to my overall skill level. It's still not stellar, but it's much better. Practice works!


Originally Posted by scriabinfanatic
Also: instead of buying all those books for the purpose of playing music that is in the public domain, and only playing it one time...have you ever heard of a $15 app called forScore?

I haven't but I had purchased several of these a long time ago, before there were tablets or smartphones. It just seemed natural to complete the set. I like having sheet music around.


If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?
Re: Scarlatti and Me
jon-nyc #3003194 07/16/20 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jon-nyc
But I think my favorite sonatas from before this exercise are still my favorites. K87/L33, K54/L241, and K25/L481.
Can you put up a Top 10 List?


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Re: Scarlatti and Me
AZNpiano #3003205 07/16/20 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Can you put up a Top 10 List?

Nobody asked me, but of course why should that stop anyone... ha

I'll give this list, with some emphasis on unfamiliar ones, therefore omitting some familiar ones that deserve to be on any such list, but then again many dozens of them do!

In no order (and this top 10 is actually 11): grin
(some with links; doesn't mean the other are less good!)

K. 162 / L. 21

K. 427 / L. 286

K. 55 / L. 335

Famous one:
K. 113 / L. 345
Played by me when I was 11 (NOT) :-)
He's not me grin but he really is 11.
It's incredible. We might expect a prodigy to rattle off a piece like this at great speed but without sensitivity. This is the opposite: not particularly fast, but highly musical, we might even say "mature."

K 308 / L. 359

K. 438 / L. 381, played by our own Can Cakmur
I was first introduced to this piece when
Keith Jarrett (!) included in a solo recital, which was all Bach and Scarlatti.

K. 209, L. 428

K. 466 / L. 118

K. 44 / L. 432 (personal favorite)

K. 420 / L. "Supplement 2"
(great recording, except that the intro graphic wrongly says A major; it's C major)

"The Cat Fugue," K. 30 / L. 499

Re: Scarlatti and Me
Mark_C #3003226 07/16/20 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Can you put up a Top 10 List?

Nobody asked me, but of course why should that stop anyone... ha

Thanks! Some interesting ones.

I'm probably one of the few crazies who had actually taught 40+ different Scarlatti Sonatas, including some really short and easy ones that nobody should ever play, just so my anti-Bach students can play a Baroque piece to fulfill their piano exam's requirements.

It's one of my goals to play an all-Scarlatti recital. But my issue is finding a group of them without boring the audience to death. I haven't had the patience to listen to all 555+ of them, let alone sight reading through all of them. That's too much work for me.


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Re: Scarlatti and Me
jon-nyc #3003252 07/16/20 07:37 AM
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I've probably sight-read through about 100 Scarlatti sonatas in my time (when you've been around as long as I have, and are as old and grizzled, almost grizzly, you tend to sight-read through things).

My favourites (OK, the ones I still play for fun) are:

Kk 141 (Martha's favorite)
Kk 380 (Yuja's favorite)
Kk 27 (Arturo's favorite)
Kk 517 (scales)
Kk 531 (arpeggios)
Kk 322
Kk 9 (Pastorale's favorite)
Kk 87
Kk 466
Kk 455 (repeater's favorite)


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Scarlatti and Me
jon-nyc #3003263 07/16/20 08:39 AM
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I listened quote a few, and played some, but list the count of both. Some of my current favorite:

K87
K96
K55
K208
K273
K294
K427
Kk466
K380

Re: Scarlatti and Me
AZNpiano #3003323 07/16/20 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by jon-nyc
But I think my favorite sonatas from before this exercise are still my favorites. K87/L33, K54/L241, and K25/L481.
Can you put up a Top 10 List?

Sure - I would add these to my list of top 10 with the three I mentioned. In Longo order.

L147/K197
L158/K58 - a fugue (Scarlatti only wrote 5 fugues, or only 5 have survived)
L175/k387
L198/k296
L237/K280 - Beethovenesque?
L343/K434
L449/K27


If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?
Re: Scarlatti and Me
jon-nyc #3003529 07/17/20 01:57 AM
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Thanks for the lists! Some fascinating choices, and some I already know very well and like (K. 25, 27, 87, 96, 208, 209, 322, 466, 517).

Here are some more of my favorite Scarlatti Sonatas:

K. 1
K. 14
K. 20
K. 69
K. 119
K. 132
K. 146
K. 191
K. 427
K. 481
K. 487
K. 491

There are two that are getting a bit overplayed in this part of the world (K. 141 and K. 380), so I could do without them for the moment.


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Re: Scarlatti and Me
pianoloverus #3003850 07/18/20 03:40 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
What an amazing achievement! Somehow I doubt even some of the pianists famous for their Scarlatti playing have done what you achieved.

I know that Alexandre Tharaud did, before choosing which sonatas to record. "At first I sight-read all of them- with lots of pleasure, greediness, even." His recordings are wonderful.



Congrats, OP! This has been on my list for a while- maybe not all 600, but a fourth or something:)

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