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Detail from the autograph of the Cantata pastorale, 1716: Non sò qual più m'ingombra
Source: Musiksammlung der Staatsbibliothek, Berlin

Detail from the autograph score of Cantata da camera: Ombre tacite e sole, 31.10.1716
Source: British Library

Both the above cantatas are available for purchase through this site.
The Composer's Words
'I have marked ... at necessary places the louds and softs of the instruments, which are the only means of making that chiaroscuro which makes singing and playing attractive.'
(A. Scarlatti, on his opera, Il Gran Tamerlano 1706.)

This website exists to share the music of Alessandro Scarlatti and his contemporaries through editions, recordings, and discussion. It is based largely on the research of Rosalind Halton, Kate Eckersley, and James Sanderson. All of us are performer/researchers dedicated to turning manuscripts of long forgotten music into experiences of music and poetry interwoven.

Most of the music in the catalogue has never before been available in modern editions or recordings - we invite you to enter the world of this great vocal music.

Research alone is not enough to bring this wonderful music to life, so in 1997 award-winning harpsichordist Rosalind Halton formed the ensemble chacona with violinist Lucinda Moon and cellist Jamie Hey as the nucleus of a group to perform works by Alessandro Scarlatti. 

A page from the autograph of Cantata Pastorale
Source: Musiksammlung der Staatsbibliothek, Berlin

Rosalind Halton's edition of the Cantata Pastorale: Non sò qual più m'ingombra is now available for purchase through this site.

New triple CD Released - Venere, Adone e Amore

Scarlatti fans will rejoice in this new 3CD box set featuring renowned scholar and harpsichordist Rosalind Halton, who both directs and plays in the ensemble. With several world premiere recordings as well as previously released material from the classic album Olimpia, this box set is both passionate and exotic.
This new 3CD set features 12 distinctive gems drawn from among Scarlatti’s 600 cantatas and serenatas. Rosalind Halton directs Chacona in performances informed by her 20 years of research into this master of the Italian Baroque.

The music and the poetry in Scarlatti’s cantatas come from many sources, including classical mythology and Roman history, with characters like Cupid, Venus, Adonis and Olympia. Other cantatas feature Biblical figures (references to the Messiah in Cantata Pastorale) or just lovers, in ecstasy or resignation or pining.

Scarlatti’s music depicts this poetry very decisively – interruptions, hesitations, doubts, illusions are all audible in the music. Phrases or words are musically repeated to give animation. Scarlatti uses key colour to depict emotional states, such as sharp keys for agitation and deceit, and flat keys for resignation or sadness. Inherently dramatic, it contains within it the beginnings of modern opera.

Artistic director Rosalind Halton has been performing and researching Scarlatti’s music since receiving her Oxford University DPhil in the 1980s, published over 30 editions and edited all works on this CD from manuscript sources. Soloists for this recording include Jane Edwards (soprano), Miriam Allan (soprano), Tessa Miller (soprano), Vivienne Hamilton (soprano) and James Sanderson(countertenor).

   Listen to Sample: Venere, Adone e Amore
   Listen to Sample: Olimpia

Venere, Adone e Amore is available through ABC shops or by following this link.

For Press Release, please follow this link.

New editions NOW AVAILABLE

La dove a Mergellina Cantata a voce sola di soprano
There at Mergellina where the sea kisses the shore, the lovelorn Elpino went alone one day, addressing the waves: "Love him that loves you..." A stunning example of the genre in a long-awaited edition from Rosalind Halton and a must have for the lovers of cantate de camera. In RARA format and taken from two sources, Naples and London.

More information | Purchase here (£4.95)

Qual'ora io veggio la vezzosa Irene: Cantata a voce sola con violini
"Irene is so beautiful when she wears white - it reminds me of the colour of my devotion to her." A delicious work for low soprano (or high counter tenor) and violins, in Scarlatti's later Neapolitan galant style. Transparent textures and buoyant melodic lines are the colour of this sparkling work.

More information | Purchase here (£5.95)

La Primavera (Clori e Lidia Compagne): Cantata per Camera a due Soprani
La Primavera depicts a scene in which two girls await the return of their lovers, Tirsi and Fileno. Spring, the melting of ice, and the return of flowers, happiness and love are the subject of the girls’ conversation.
Source: Santini Collection, 3901 Diözesan Bibliothek, Münster.

More information | Purchase here (£5.95)

Tu resti o mio bel nume: Cantata for bass, violin I & II & continuo.
The subject is of lovers parting. The debate is about who suffers most - the one who has to leave, or the one left behind. A fine accompagnato recitative introduces the cantata, which is more lyrical than virtuoso. Sources: Biblioteca del Conservatorio, Naples.
More information | Purchase here (£6.95)

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The Web Library of Seventeenth-Century Music

WLSCM is a service offered by the Society of Seventeenth-Century Music to its members and to the musical community at large. It presents new editions of seventeenth-century compositions that have remained unpublished or that are not available commercially. Access is free to the general public provided the Conditions for Users are observed.

'Order an edition'

The catalogue consists of the editors' choice from a huge number of cantatas. Maybe you want to perform a work which isn't already in the catalogue. If you can provide a copy, [and place an order], we will aim provide an edition within 4 weeks.  Just follow our 'contact' link above.

Further Reading
New from Pendragon Press:
Essential reading for performers and researchers of Scarlatti’s music

Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti--Two Lives in One
by Roberto Pagano, Translated by Frederick Hammond
ISBN: 1-57647-108-x
Sale Price (US Funds): $56.00 cloth
Published: October, 2006
Series: LIVES IN MUSIC No. 6
Pendragon No.: 585

Alessandro Scarlatti is one of the most celebrated and least performed composers of the Baroque, and his son Domenico remains one of the most enigmatic figures of the period. Roberto Pagano's Two Lives examines the relationship between father and son, interpreted in the context of seventeenth-century Sicilian culture. This study in historical anthropology is filled with new documentation on the lives and careers of the two men. Two Lives is the most important contribution to Scarlatti studies since Ralph Kirkpatrick's Domenico Scarlatti of 1953. Roberto Pagano is the leading authority on the lives and music of the Scarlattis, and the author of their entries in the New Grove. He has written widely on Sicilian musical life and has served as Artistic Director of the Sicilian National Orchestra and the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. Translator Frederick Hammond is both performer and scholar. His scholarly works include Girolomo Frescobaldi (1984) and Music Spectacle in Baroque Rome(1994).


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