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Toccatas (Biblioteca del Conservatorio di Napoli ms. 9478)
Editors: Andrea Macinanti, Francesco Tasini
Series: Alessandro Scarlatti. Complete Works for Keyboard
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: pp. 144
There are very few modern editions available of keyboard music by Alessandro Scarlatti (Palermo, 1660 – Napoli, 1725): two facsimiles of 18th century manuscripts – one kept in Naples and the other in Modena – and a few 20th-century editions which are difficult to obtain.
While manuscript sources are awkward to play from because of frequent imprecisions, modern editions are sometimes unreliable due to editorial intervention which, in some cases, modifies the original text. Two notable exceptions are constituted by J. S. Shedlock’s, as well as R. Gerlin – C. Sartori’s editions, for their modern methodological approach. However, both of these editions were based on a single manuscript, without there having been a comparative analysis of the numerous existing sources of Scarlatti’s keyboard music.
This constitutes a severe restriction, because the analysis of individual manuscripts results in the realization that every single source has fundamental limitations: in the first place, none contains the entire corpus of his keyboard works, and, furthermore, none is devoid of errors. Only a comparative analysis of all sources justifies intervention in ambiguous passages, and at the same time indicates the criteria for not making arbitrary corrections in the case of durezze. In short, the comparison of variations in the text results in the choice of the best possible solution.
Thanks to the extensive research conducted by Andrea Macinanti and Francesco Tasini, the Urtext of the complete edition of Alessandro Scarlatti’s keyboard works will finally be available for both musicians and musicologists.