Sonata in D Major, K. 119
Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 7 Tracks 22-23
After the uxorious King and his homely Queen (she is, in my eyes, very beautiful) have long receded in our history we are left with their servant's sonatas which had helped remove tedium from their hours. Three years saw each of them pass: 1757, Scarlatti
; 1758, Barbara
; 1759, Ferdinand
. Through Ferdinand's horrible mourning there remained the sixteen volumes Scarlatti had given to Barbara as remembrance of the smile that had played on her lips. What criticism we have of their kingdom must wait until after we have listened to their romance.
The bell-like D Major chord that opens this sample reminds me, as it would remind any cellist, of Bach's sixth suite. It is not likely that solo 'cello music was in Scarlatti's ears. However, while waiting for an oil change I was reading this score and heard the piece as a work for string orchestra. In the background was the mechanic's angry AM radio worrying over the legacy of George W. Perhaps the White House should hire a harpsichordist.
What I like about this adventure in D is the theme after the first big stop. My attention tends to stray a bit whenever I get to this point in the piece and I hear this tune somewhat obliquely. It never fails. Something about this moment in the piece encourages the listener to include the room in which they are listening.
Read also about John Sankey's edition
of the sonatas.