Scarlatti Marathon Held in Manchester, England

Classic Arts News   Scarlatti Marathon Held in Manchester, England
The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester held a twelve-hour marathon of Domenico Scarlatti's 555 keyboard sonatas yesterday, hosting musicians from across England in free performances at six campus venues.

"It has been a logistical nightmare," Helen Krizos, the deputy head of the college's school of keyboard studies, told The Guardian of London before the event, held in honor of the 250th anniversary of the composer's birthday.

The keyboardists came from the RNCM, Royal Academy of Music, Trinity College of Music, Chetham's School of Music, Purcell School and others. Aged 11 to 60, they performed on both modern and period instruments, some of which are part of the college's historic instrument collection. Serbian-born pianist Aleksandar Madzar rounded out the series with program that also included Beethoven and Chopin.

Scarlatti's sonatas contributed heavily to the evolution of keyboard technique through glissandi, hand-crossing, large jumps and octaves. Striking in their range of character, the works foresaw the advent of the modern piano and were prototypical of the Classical style.

RCNM believes its event to be the first of its kind. In December 2006, the International Festival of Keyboard Music in Spain initiated the first global Scarlatti marathon over 24 hours, involving 220 performers from 14 institutions in 11 cities (five U.S.) and seven countries.

In 1985, Symphony Space held a tercentennial concert called "Scarlatti Saturday: The Top 100," in which 20 players performed over eight hours about a sixth of all the sonatas.

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