In 1672 the Scarlatti family had moved to Palermo from Rome. Alessandro Scarlatti (born Palermo 1660, died Naples 1725) began studies, allegedly with Carissimi. In 1682 he moved to Naples where he was in demand as a composer for aristocratic entertainment, but apparently the city irked him so he returned temporarily to Rome. Here, however, the Pope had banned operatic music and in the end Naples was the place where his genius found an outlet. Indeed, his many innovations in the field of opera contribute to the whole history of music. Scarlatti pioneered a monodic style based on the modern tonal system. In his early works he still worked polyphonically but his thinking was melodic. In later operas he was obliged by fashion to forego the forms derived from a ground bass in favour of extended melody, and in his instrumental works we can indeed hear this transition. For example, the flute in the C minor Sinfonia adds another line to the contrapuntal texture but is at the same time ornamental and expressive. In the Concerto, the solo instruments often just interpolate fragments of the same material as the tutti group, and the juxtaposition is dramatic by its brevity. The fugal Allegro looks back in time, but the last movement, in fact a dance, uses changing tonalities to great effect and closes in the minor mode.
from notes by Hyperion Records Ltd © 1988