Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) held a reputation as the finest harpsichord player of his day. It could be said that Scarlatti was the "father of the virtuoso performer." His style of composition showed a great departure from the strict contrapuntal rules of the baroque era. Homophonic in texture and generally in binary form, his keyboard writing introduced many new opportunities for technical display, including rapid scales in thirds and sixths, repeated notes played by quickly changing fingers, and many crossed hand passages.
Scarlatti was born in Naples, Italy in 1685. In 1725, he became the music teacher of the daughter of King John V of Portugal, Maria Barbara. In 1728, Maria Barbara married the Spanish Crown Prince Fernando and moved to Madrid. Scarlatti accompanied her and remained in Madrid for the rest of his life. Scarlatti wrote between 500-600 keyboard sonatas during his years in Madrid. It is generally assumed that these works are written expressly for the harpsichord. However, it is notable that Maria Barbara had two pianos, and, since many of the sonatas were written for her, it is reasonable that at least some are intended for the piano.
Very few of Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas were published during his lifetime. In 1839, renowned piano pedagogue Carl Czerny collected and published 200 sonatas in Vienna. Piano virtuoso Franz Liszt campaigned for renewed interest in the sonatas in the late 19th century. Eventually, the virtually complete edition by A. Longo — which includes 545 sonatas in 11 volumes — was published in 1906.
The ten sonatas selected for this recording are in progressive order of difficulty for intermediate through advanced levels. A correlated music book is available from your favorite print music dealer. Please ask for "Scarlatti: Ten Sonatas," Selected and Edited by Keith Snell (GP391), Neil A. Kjos Music Company, Publisher.
Keith Snell, Producer
Academy Records, Inc.
Pianist Diane Hidy made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1991 after completing her studies with John Perry and Leon Fleisher. In 1987 Diane was the first woman to become a Fellow of the American Pianists Association and in 1982 was the winner of the MTNA Collegiate Artist Competition. She has performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra s First Prize winner of the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition. Diane attended the Juilliard School of Music, and holds music degrees from the University of Southern California and the Peabody Conservatory of Music. She spent her high school years in Seattle, Washington, where she was a student of Michiko Miyamoto.
Diane and her husband, J. Tony Smith, live in San Francisco, CA, where she teaches young beginners through advanced high school students and adults.