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Scores, Editions and Libretti

A modern edition of the serenata Erminia by Alessandro Scarlatti, edited by Thomas Griffin, is now available from the Istituto Italiano per la Storia della Musica.

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Filli, Clori e Tirsi ("Dalle fiorite arene dal mio patrio Volturno") by Alessandro Scarlatti is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 United States License. Performed on 4 December 1715 in the Royal Palace, Naples. A revised version was given at Rome under the name La Ninfa del Tago in 1721.

A scrutiny of this serenata's text reveals that it was most certainly written for performance on the name day of Barbara d'Erbenstein, the wife of the Austrian Viceroy Count Wirrick Daun, whose tenure at Naples included the years 1707-08 and 1713-19. Further references in Filli, Clori e Tirsi to the Habsburg Empress Elisabeth's pregnancy would limit its performance to 1715 or 1716. The belligerent tone of the text strongly suggested 1716 to this writer. (On April 13 of that year the Emperor Charles VI pointedly renewed his alliance in the Holy League with Venice, effectively insuring war with the Turks. Hostilities began that summer, and by December 1716 several notable victories had been scored in Hungary.) However, a libretto in the Biblioteca Nazionale at Naples proves that the serenata Il Pescator di Miseno (Niso, Egli, Eurilla), music by Domenico Sarro, text by Giuseppe Papis, was performed in 1716 in celebration of Barbara's nameday at Naples

This strongly suggests that Scarlatti's Filli, Clori e Tirsi was the serenata performed on 4 December in celebration of Barbara's nameday in 1715. The Gazzetta di Napoli reports that it was heard in the Royal Palace by tutte le dame della nostra città, quali ascoltorono una vaghissima serenata, che si cantò in loda di detta eccellentissima signora, posta in note dal celebre primo maestro della R. Cappella, cavalier Scarlatti.

Amore, Pace e Providenza ("Al fragor di lieta tromba") by Alessandro Scarlatti is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 United States License.

Performed on the evening of November 4, 1711, on a temporary stage erected facing the balconies of the Royal Palace of Naples, the serenata celebrated the name day of the recently crowned Habsburg Imperor Charles VI, who also claimed the title of King of Spain as Charles III. The work survives in three manuscript scores and a printed libretto of the text by Giuseppe Papis. This edition is based on manuscript 3937 in the Santini collection at Muenster, a facsimile of which has been published by Malcolm Boyd in volume 13 of The Italian Cantata of the seventeenth century (Garland). A commercial edition of this serenata, of possible interest to performers, is available as number GE 35 in the series Musica al Fresco from Garri editions, 2002.


Le Glorie della Bellezza del Corpo e dell'Anima ("In si bel giorno che il Gran Natale d'Elisabetta") Music by Alessandro Scarlatti, text by Giuseppe Papis.

On August 28, 1709, the Viceroy of Naples, Cardinal Grimani, celebrated the birthday of Elisabeth Christina, the wife of the Habsburg claimant to the throne of Spain, Charles III, with a sumptuous entertainment in the Royal Palace commemorated with the publication of a libretto entitled Trattenimento Musicale. Although the music for this serenata has evidently not survived, the libretto shows that it consisted of three cantatas for four voices and a charming comic «Intermedio» performed in the great hall of the viceroys, decorated to resemble a garden. The link above provides notes on this libretto as well as the entire text of the comic intermezzo.

La Gloria di Primavera by Alessandro Scarlatti is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 United States License.

Originally scheduled for performance in the palace of Don Nicola Gaetano d'Aragona, at Piedimonte Matese (province of Naples), near Caserta, on May 19, 1716, in celebration of the birth of the Archduke Leopold, it was performed three times that month, probably to accommodate the great crush of aristocrats who wished to hear the serenata. Heard in a small lavishly decorated theater with a machine that allowed Jove to descend from heaven during the course of the work, it contains some of Scarlatti's finest music from the last decade of his life. The serenata was also given at London in 1721, in all likelihood by the composer's younger brother Francesco, as a commercial venture, and was revived in the 19th century by Raphael Georg Kiesewetter in Vienna. This edition is based on the earliest surviving manuscript scores, 271, 272 and 275, in the Naples Conservatory Library.

Partenope, Teti, Nettuno, Proteo e Glauco by Alessandro Scarlatti is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 United States License.

This serenata survives in a single manuscript preserved in the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The text of the serenata clearly indicates that it was for the name day celebration on November 4 of the Emperor Charles VI. Interestingly, the text also mentions the British Admiral George Byng, whose fleet surprised and destroyed a Spanish fleet off Cape Passaro on August 16, 1718. Under the Admiral's command the British fleet made its triumphal entry into the Bay of Naples on November 2, just two days before the Emperor's name day. Whether the serenata was given on November 4 or a few days later is unknown, but there is clear evidence in the score that the serenata was assembled in great haste.

Guerra, Europa, Fama e Gloria by Alessandro Scarlatti. Performed at Naples on 4 November 1712 in the Royal Palace.

While the music for this serenata is not known to have survived, a manuscript libretto preserving the text has been discovered at Isola Bella, in the Borromini family archives, and has been published by Sergio Monferrini. Incipits from the libretto are reported here.

Il Genio Austriaco, Il Sole, Flora, Zeffiro, Partenop e Sebeto ("Dia la fama il suo fiato") Music by Alessandro Scarlatti, text by Giuseppe Papis, performed at Naples on 28 August 1713.

The music for this two-part serenata, celebrating the birthday of the Austrian Empress Elisabetta Christina, is not known to have survived; but libretti, including the following print preserved in the National Library at Naples testify to the impressive nature of this festivity.

Giove Placato ("Son ferita, Son piagata") Music by Alessandro Scarlatti, text by Giuseppe Papis, performed at Naples on 4 December 1713.

The music for this two-part serenata, celebrating the nameday of the Vice Regina Barbara d'Erbenstein, is not known to have survived; but a libretti in the Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze preserves the text of the serenata by Giuseppe Papis.

La Virtù negli Amori by Alessandro Scarlatti. Performed at Rome on 23, 26 and 27 November 1721 in the sumptuously decorated Teatro Capranica.

Although the music for this serenata is not known to have survived, images of the libretto printed to commemorate this work, dedicated to Pope Innocent XIII by the Portuguese Ambassador at Rome, Don Andrea de Melo de Castro, can be seen here .

Genio di Partenope, Gloria del Sebeto, Piacere di Mergellina by Alessandro Scarlatti is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 United States License

Heard on the evening of August 5, 1696, at an intimate party celebrating the name day of the Viceregina of Naples, this serenata provides nothing less than a stylized rendition of an aristocratic conversazione within a conversazione.

Clori, Lidia e Filli by Alessandro Scarlatti is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 United States License.

This serenata survives in a single manuscript preserved in the Brussels Conservatory Library (B BC, F 669z). It uses the same opening sinfonia as heard in the composer's 1696 serenata Venere, Adone, et Amore, recently published by Rosalind Halton (Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era, 157; A-R Editions). The text, a witty and somewhat cynical debate on the nature of love, probably indicates it was written for performance at an aristocratic conversazione in Naples or Rome.

The serenata Venere e Amore "Del Mar Tirreno in su l'amena sponda"

Here are images of Antonio Tirabassi's rare 1921 edition of the serenata. Based upon the single surviving manuscript (B Br, II 3970 D) (Fétis 2528), the edition is quite accurate and contains a useful continuo realization by A. Toussant. This examplar once belonged to Edwin Hanley. Each jpg file corresponds to one page of the edition or you may prefer to download the entire edition in a set of zip files.

Pietro Scarlatti's serenata Diana, Amore e Venere "Bel piacere ch' è la caccia" is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 United States License.

This serenata, celebrating a noble wedding at Naples, survives in a single manuscript score in the Conservatory Library of Milan (MI0344 Noseda F.79). It is copied in the hand of Pietro Scarlatti, the first born child of Alessandro, and should be attributed to Pietro rather than to his father Alessandro.

Severo De Luca's serenata Venere, Cupido e Marte "Splende in ciel la mia lucida stella" is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 United States License.

Almost certainly commissioned by the Spanish ambassador to the Holy See, Juan Francisco Pacheco, fifth Duke of Uceda, this serenata was performed on the evening of 19 December 1700 in the Palazzo di Spagna, Rome, after a dinner attended by the widowed Queen Maria Casimira of Poland and her two sons.

The chamber cantata "Tormentatemi pur, furie d'amore" for soprano and basso continuo

Rosalind Halton's modern edition based on the manuscript source GB Lbm, Add. 31488. Halton also provides the Italian text with English translation and notes.

The chamber cantata "Là dove a Mergellina" for soprano and basso continuo

A modern edition, with notes and text, kindly provided by Rosalind Halton. If the date 1725 found on the mansucript source in London refers to the year of composition, this may be one of the composer's last works.


Upcoming and Past Performances

Alessandro Scarlatti's serenata La Gloria di Primavera will be performed at the Konzerthaus in Vienna by Alessandro Quarta conducting the Concerto Romano on Sunday night, January 25, 2015. More details are found here.

Alessandro Scarlatti's serenata Erminia, as revived in 2011, will be performed at the 65th Dubrovnik Summer Festival on August 4, 2014 at 21:30 hours by the Concerto de' Cavalieri under the direction of Marcello di Lisa. More information on this event can be found here.

Alessandro Scarlatti's opera Griselda, first performed in the Teatro Capranica, Rome, in 1721, was heard in the Staatstheater, Kassel, 18 February to 3 May 2012.

The serenata Erminia, Alessandro Scarlatti's last major composition, was given in the Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano, Naples, on Saturday night, October 22, 2011.

This performance was based on a new critical edition prepared by Thomas Griffin, recently published by the Istituto Italiano per la Storia della Musica. More information on this performance can be found here. These are the program notes, in English and as kindly translated into Italian by Prof. Francesco Cotticelli.

A broadcast of sacred music by Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti recorded live on November 14, 2010 by WDR3, sung by Cantus Cölln.

Many thanks to Luca della Libera for bringing this concert to our attention and to Dennis Griffin for the recording.

Here you may download or listen to a recording of this broadcast.

Excerpts from the opera Carlo Re d'Allemagna broadcast on Deutschlandfunk.

These are excerpts from a performance in Norway given during 2010 under the baton of Fabio Biondi. The broadcast took place on Sunday, 18 July at 9:05 PM (Centeral European Time) and was heard on the internet at http://www.dradio.de/dlf. Many thanks to Luca della Libera for this information.

Here you may download or listen to a recording of this broadcast which contains highlights from the opera.

A recent performance by Enrico Gatti was broadcast on WDR 3

Luca della Libera writes from Rome to inform us of the broadcast of a recent concert by Enrico Gatti that took place on Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 8:05 PM central European time. Westdeutscher Rundfunk 3 can be heard via the internet worldwide. This broadcast included several Concerti Sacri by Scarlatti recently edited by della Libera.

Now that the broadcast date has past you may download or listen to a recording of the concert here.

Fabio Bonizzoni conducted the the Serenata a Filli Il Sole, Urania e Clio

This performance took place on June 20, 2010, in the Abbey of Saint Michel en Thiérache. Bonizzoni may also conduct the serenata Clori, Lidia e Filli (see above for a modern edition) this August at the Rheinvocal Festival as well as another serenata in October at Naples and one of the Concerti Sacri on September 12, 2010, at Ambroney and at Royaumont on September 24.

Please send us any news you have of forthcoming performances of the music of Alessandro Scarlatti.


Online Performances


Roberta Invernizzi's splendid rendition of the aria Cieca Talpa

One of the many delights to be heard in Fabio Biondi's recent recording of Scarlatti's oratorio La Santissima Trinità.


Ch'io ti ceda, the quintet finale to La Santissima Trinità

Like a number of the composer's serenatas, this oratorio ends in an unexpectedly (by modern standards) abrupt manner.


Of interest to scholars

A paper on the late serenatas of Alessandro Scarlatti read at the National Palace of Queluz, Lisbon, in June 2015.

The conference report for Aggiornando il Settecento at the University of La Rioja, November 2013.

Antonio Caldara's extraordinary setting of the antiphon Salve Regina

Here you will find the recording made by Rudolf Ewerhart for the Westdeutsche Rundfunk of Caldara's Salve Regina broadcast in 1959. An edition of the work by Warren Kirkendale is available from the publisher Libreria Musicale Italiana (2011). A mild controversy has surrounded this piece since Prof. Kirkendale played a tape of it at the international meeting of the Gesellschaft für Musikforschung, Rome, 2010. Kirkendale explains his reasons for believing that the Salve may date from before 1716 in Rome in several recent articles in Studi Musicali (2010 and 2012).

Lilypond, music engraving software

Most scholars and musicians are using Finale or Sibelius, both fine commercial products; but you can do it as well or better with Lilypond. And it's free.

The full text of Edward Dent's Alessandro Scarlatti: His Life and Works

The version of Dent's still useful biography found in Google Books is a limited preview version only, but above is a complete scan of the original 1905 edition from the Stanford University Library. Or click here to read the original 1905 version in a pdf file from the Wellesley College Library.

The Scarlatti Project

An impressive website featuring the research of Rosalind Halton, Kate Eckersley, and James Sanderson. A wealth of free information can be found here, as well as an online catalog from which modern editions may be ordered.

Avvisi extracts of musical interest from MS 402 in the Istituto Storico Spagnolo, Rome, are found here.

Several fine Canciones Méxicanas are found here.