In his sacred music Domenico showed elements of the harmonic richness and melodic individuality which flood his later keyboard writing, but the main features of his settings of emotive sacred texts are tuneful melodies which mix religious deference with occasional elements of the opera. This readily approachable style is nonetheless underpinned by a sound compositional technique. The fine setting of the Salve regina
begins with just such rich harmony and elegance of line, after which comes a dramatic section alternating trumpet-like calls (‘Ad te clamamus’) with more intense grave sections (‘exsules, filii Hevae’). The vocal line returns to more lyrical writing at ‘Eia ergo’, but the upper strings are more playful in their imitation of each other. ‘Nobis post hoc exsilium’ confidently starts with textbook imitation but the mood quietens at ‘ostende’. The most emotive (and individual) writing is reserved for ‘O clemens, o pia’, where Scarlatti’s characteristic use of dissonance and bitter-sweet melody gives rise to music of great beauty before the final ‘Amen’ returns, albeit restrained by its religious context, to a more operatic style.
from notes by Robert King © 1996