Domenico 1° and 2° were composed for pianist Kristina Szutor's CD, Aprés Scarlatti,
which consists of contemporary works inspired by the Italian Baroque composer, Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757).
My introduction to Scarlatti's music came through learning guitar transcriptions of his sonatas, one of the most popular of which is K. 208 (L. 238) in A major. Two of the most pervasive characteristics of that sonata are a steady, often repeated, quarter notes in the left hand, and a flowing melody in the right hand with frequent syncopations; these ideas formed the basis of Domenico 1°.
Over half of Scarlatti's life was spent on the Iberian peninsula, most of it in Spain, where he had five children, composed the majority of his single-movement harpsichord sonatas, and became familiar with flamenco music, the influence of which can be heard in some of his sonatas. I had therefore planned Domenico 2° as a kind of fantasy based on flamenco-like scales (for example, the phrygian mode with the possibility of raised third and seventh degrees), but I decided to make it an even-more overt homage to Scarlatti by quoting four bars of his Sonata in B minor (K. 27, which I transposed to A minor) that use a chord progression known as a "fandango," strongly associated with the music of Spain: Am - G - F - E, in 3/4 time. This quoted passage is also remarkable for the use of hand-crossings (left hand crossing above the right), an uncommon technique for the time it was written, and I based several other sections of my composition on Scarlatti's fandango material as well.
I am grateful to Kristina for asking me to compose these works and for performing them so beautifully, and to the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council for supporting this commissioning project.
The works may be performed as a pair, or individually.
©Clark Winslow Ross
Other works for piano by Clark Ross you might enjoy:
iPad Riff Recontextualized (Inspired by the music of an iPad commercial; 2010)
Dream Dance (A wild, virtuosic, perpetual motion joyride; 2007)
Last Dance (Juno nominated slow tango, called "haunting and beautiful" by Jon Kimura Parker; 1999)
Jennifer's Tune (A pretty tune (for piano and bass) for my wife; 2005)
Julia's Prelude (A pretty tune for my daughter, in the style of Schumann; 1996)
Keep on Truckin' (Boogie-woogie blues with a dash of Mussorgsky in the middle; 2010)
Blues for Jim (Both a lament and a celebration of the life of Jim Croce; 2010)
Late Night Music (Jazz-inspired work for trumpet, piano, drum kit, and bass)