Matthew Flannery, New Brunswick NJ, was educated at Reed College and the University of Chicago (philosophy) and Rutgers University (city and regional planning). He refines English translations of Chinese poems from 200-1200 CE, collects recordings of western classical chamber and solo music in historical depth, edits scholarly papers, translates the occasional poem of Georg Trakl, and collects Chinese calligraphy and seal stones.2004 0-7734-6336-4
This work proposes a solution to what is often considered the central problem facing Scarlatti scholarship, determining the chronological order of his keyboard sonatas. In the data-poor arena of Scarlatti research, this work, avoiding a primarily musicological or organological approach, analyzes large-scale patterns of musical characteristics over all (or parts) of a sonata sequence founded primarily on the Parma manuscript. As a result of an extensive application of this analytic approach to the sequence, this work notes that many sequence patterns seem to be chronologically structured, that none seem anti-chronological, and that a few mirror historical changes in the music of Scarlatti=s time. These phenomena and other observations delimit something like a general history of Scarlatti=s musical development enriched further by a variety of localized events. Among some 26 patterns observed in the sequence are a systematic rise in Scarlatti=s use of the major mode, stepped increases in sonata compass that seem to accord with the sequential availability of larger keyboards, and both an increase in the rate at which the sonatas were combined into sets of two or three works and the use by Scarlatti of progressively complex techniques for doing so. This work also sketches a methodological background for the chronological proposal, including a discussion of why chronological order seems a superior interpretation of the sequence compared to the thought that it may have been reorganized, whether at random or by specific criteria. This study also discusses such subjects as the probable location of the 30 essercizi within the sonata sequence, the likely mis-location of several other sonatas, implications of chronological order from organology, a broadly dated window for the latter part of the sequence, the relationship between conservative and radical elements in Scarlatti=s compositions, a late-sequence change in his approach to writing slow sonatas, and the interplay of structural integration and musical diversity in the later sonatas. It presents a new catalog of the sonatas that, while substantially congruent with Kirkpatrick=s, proposes modifications to his ordering of the first hundred sonatas as well to a few other but smaller regions of the sequence.