Scarlatti, Domenico

Scarlatti was of a roving disposition and was seldom content to remain for any length of time in one place. In his old age he degenerated into a glutton and a gamester, and the later years of his life were clouded by extreme poverty, brought about by his habits. He died in the utmost destitution. His family before and for some time after his death was cared for by Farinelli, the singer. Traces of his methods are to be found in the harpsichord school of Bach, and the brilliant manner of writing which distinguished him is said to have influenced Bach to a remarkable degree. Handel, too, was indebted to the two Scarlattis for much that made him famous. His greatest merit, apart from the beauty and solid style of composition that was his, was based upon the peculiar character of the instrument for which he wrote. For this reason he deserves to rank as a master. In modern times his compositions are occasionally heard. During the past concert season (1907) de Pachmann, the celebrated pianist, included his sonata in A major on his programs.