Alessandro Scarlatti (1660–1725) remains the least familiar of the major Italian baroque composers, a rare figure whose music belongs to both Rome and Naples, and equally to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Throughout a career of nearly five decades, the Sicilian-born composer produced major works of inexhaustible craftsmanship and invention in every genre of his day: opera, oratorio, sacred music, serenata, cantata, keyboard toccata and, in later life, instrumental ensemble music. Much of his output — and the innovative genius of its composer — awaits rediscovery through editions and performance.
Having begun his career in the era of Alessandro Stradella and Giacomo Carissimi, Scarlatti lived to play a distinctive part in the modern Neapolitan style of his son Domenico’s contemporaries — Nicola Porpora, Leonardo Leo and Leonardo Vinci. He defines and reflects the stylistic innovations of each succeeding decade while retaining his unique harmonic style and his facility in the polyphonic practice of an earlier age.