Cantabile Sonatas of Scarlatti

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Belle
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Cantabile Sonatas of Scarlatti

Post by Belle » Thu May 24, 2018 1:40 am

Our community group had a tremendous lecture today from a retired music academic on the 'Cantabile Sonatas' of Scarlatti. I'd never heard of them but Dr. Halton has researched them and written papers about them and presented them internationally. Anyway, we also heard some Cantatas written by Scarlatti with incredibly long melismatic vocal lines and the thing which I found interesting was that they were hard to define in terms of influence. In short, these works didn't seen to be 'leading' to any particular musical genre - or so said Rosalind. As Scarlatti was born the same year as Bach and Handel you'd expect to hear some influences, one between the other. But those (circa) 550 Scarlatti sonatas are really unlike any others. Today's performances were some of those Dr. Halton had played herself and which are commercially available on CD, and some from other performers.

Here is the bio of our presenter:

https://www.newcastle.edu.au/profile/r-halton

What an absolute pleasure it was because this is largely 'my' music - the baroque!! I said to Rosalind Halton, "what's with the one movement sonatas?" and she replied, "what's with the 3 movement sonatas?!!". She then referred to me CPE Bach to find the answer!!

barney
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Re: Cantabile Sonatas of Scarlatti

Post by barney » Thu May 24, 2018 4:31 am

It sounds as though it must have been marvellous. I have a weakness for Scarlatti sonatas, of which I have quite a number - maybe 50-70 - but certainly not 550. We are talking Domenico, I presume - yes of course we are, you mentioned born 1685.

John F
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Re: Cantabile Sonatas of Scarlatti

Post by John F » Thu May 24, 2018 5:35 am

How so "cantabile sonatas"? I'd never heard that before, and when I looked for it online, all I found was a paper by your lecturer.
John Francis

Belle
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Re: Cantabile Sonatas of Scarlatti

Post by Belle » Thu May 24, 2018 6:50 am

John F wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 5:35 am
How so "cantabile sonatas"? I'd never heard that before, and when I looked for it online, all I found was a paper by your lecturer.
Correct; she has done all the international leg work on these 20 specific sonatas by Scarlatti. I hope this download that I've cut and pasted explains some of it, but briefly it's a singing style which is based on a vocal line (Farinelli was known to Scarlatti), had specific ornamentation and notated tempo rubato. The style of these sonatas bore a strong relationship to the type of keyboard instrument - Harpsichord, Clavichord or Italian fortepiano (Christofori). These cantabile sonatas are believed NOT commonly associated with harpsichord playing (for obvious reasons). Those I heard today (as well as the Cantata) had a 'style galante' refinement and elegance in the melody line which was clearly evident). I hope this downloads: page 27 is relevant for the purposes of what I've said, but the rest is interesting as well:

https://www.academia.edu/1335618/Domeni ... o=download

I was in seventh heaven today with all this. I received an email from a friend who was in the audience and he said it was 'highbrow' for him. We have different levels of musical knowledge and appreciation in our group of 35-40. Clearly, today's was somewhat esoteric. Dr. Halton was on the staff of the Music Department at the university (not her current one) where I studied Musicology and I well remember her harpsichord playing and interest in performance practice. She could blitz Frescobaldi, Froberger and keyboard music of the French baroque with lightening speed!!

Lance
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Re: Cantabile Sonatas of Scarlatti

Post by Lance » Thu May 24, 2018 11:45 am

Wow - talk about a woman of accomplishments! I had to do a double-take on her photograph. At first I thought it was a picture of the young Joan Sutherland! You folks in Australia are really doing an outstanding job in classical music ventures! Wish I was there to enjoy some of it.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Belle
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Re: Cantabile Sonatas of Scarlatti

Post by Belle » Thu May 24, 2018 3:35 pm

Thanks, Lance. Dr. Halton is just a few years younger than myself and extremely youthful looking, with a trim and fit appearance. Music is front and centre in her life, all the time, despite having recently retired. One of my confreres in our group attends musicological conferences with her. Our group has garnered an excellent reputation for high quality presentations on music! Just recently we received an email from a recently retired Drama Professor who is offering to put together some programs on opera for next year. I remember this eccentric man from my undergraduate years so it should be fun!!

We don't always limit ourselves to classical music, having a fellow who worked on the West End as a Stage Manager for 37 years and who presents programs on musicals. He's been asked to write a book about his experiences. Then we've had the music director of an Australian Army band talk about their work and play their recordings and films of their overseas tours. Also jazz musicians who've talked about their experiences and played some pieces. Next week; Wagner!!

barney
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Re: Cantabile Sonatas of Scarlatti

Post by barney » Thu May 24, 2018 4:27 pm

All this in the Blue Mountains? Or must you travel to the big smoke?

Belle
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Re: Cantabile Sonatas of Scarlatti

Post by Belle » Thu May 24, 2018 6:05 pm

barney wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 4:27 pm
All this in the Blue Mountains? Or must you travel to the big smoke?
Our guest speakers are drawn from the Newcastle University Conservatorium staff and retired staff. We used their theatrette for years but owing to the development in Newcastle of light rail we've had to abandon that for temporary accommodation. They've changed the name from the Faculty of Music to Creative Industries (!) signalling the downgrading of the study of classical music. Most of the good students go to Sydney or Melbourne these days anyway. But there are still some excellent people remaining in the faculty (for how long, who knows!). I don't actually live in Newcastle myself, the 6th largest city in Australia (for those reading this).

https://www.newcastle.edu.au/about-uon/ ... ters/music

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