Casella, Alfredo


Casella, Alfredo

Scarlattiana Op. 44 for piano and small orchestra

SKU: 202 Category:


Alfredo Casella – »Scarlattiana« Opus 44 (1926)

(born Turin, 25 July 1883 – died Rome, 5 March 1947)

Divertimento su musiche di Domenico Scarlatti
per pianoforte e piccola orchestra

I Sinfonia. Lento, grave – Allegro molto vivace p. 1
II Minuetto. Allegretto ben moderato e grazioso p. 35
III Capriccio. Allegro vivacissimo ed impetuoso p. 54
IV Pastorale. Andantino dolcemente mosso p. 85
V Finale. Lento molto e grave Presto vivacissimo p. 96

After the great success of his Partita Op. 42 for piano and orchestra (1924/25) which started with an enthusiastically acclaimed performance at the I.S.C.M. [International Society for Contemporary Music] Festival in Zurich on 22 June 1926, with the composer himself conducting and Walter Gieseking at the piano, Alfredo Casella progressed further along on his pre-destined route.

“According to plain statistics, the Partita was for some years the most performed work for piano and modern orchestra. This mark was attained a little later and perhaps passed by Scarlattiana. […] “We spent the summer of 1926 at Piancastagnaio, on the lower slopes of Monte Amiata. I wrote two of my most important works: the Roman Concerto for organ, brass, tympani, and strings, and Scarlattiana, a divertimento for piano and small orchestra based on pieces of Domenico Scarlatti. […] “The Roman Concerto marked an important development in my style and a strong effort towards the achievement of a truly Roman music.
Scarlattiana, on the other hand, is purely a product of the combination of the personalities of Scarlatti and a musician of two centuries later. About eighty themes taken from the miraculous 545 sonatas are given a totally new treatment. Even after twelve years of universal success of Scarlattiana, I must say that the work can be forgiven only because it accomplishes this blend. The difficulty of working on ideas which were not only those of another composer but two centuries remote seemed at first glance an insoluble problem. The second problem was to merge the two personalities into one and into one style. I was led towards the solution of these problems by the inner impulse which led me to write the work and by my profound knowledge of the style and the harmonic technique of Scarlatti, which includes many elements of modernity. It is perfectly possible to find a harmonious meeting ground between the eighteenth and the twentieth centuries. However, I eliminated with the greatest care any residue of nineteenth-century chromaticism, which would have compromised beyond remedy the purity of style which is Scarlattiana’s greatest merit.”
(Quote from Alfredo Casella’s Memoirs I Segreti della Giara, Florence, 1941; English translation by Spencer Norton: Music in My Time, Oklahoma, 1955)

Casella completed Scarlattiana Op. 44, a divertimento for piano and 32 instruments, on 3 November 1926 in Rome. It was successfully premiered on 22 January 1927 at Carnegie Hall, New York, by the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Otto Klemperer, with the composer at the piano. In this unprecedented work Nicolas Slonimsky found exactly 88 themes taken from piano sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti. Casella dedicated Scarlattiana to his composer colleague Vittorio Rieti (1898-1994). It was printed in 1927 by Universal Edition.

For performance materials please contact the original publisher, Universal Edition, Vienna (

Reprint with the kind permission of Universal Edition AG, Vienna, 2002

Deutsches Vorwort > HERE

Score No.






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