Drew Henderson Plays Scarlatti

Canadian guitarist Drew Henderson plays Three Sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757), originally written for keyboard and arranged by Henderson. This comes via his excellent YouTube channel. He also has the sheet music available. Beautiful playing by Henderson with wonderful ornamentation and rhythmic clarity. One of the great players of today!

  • 0:01 Sonata in D major, K.490 (Cantabile)
  • 4:44 Sonata in D minor, K. 213 (Andante)
  • 8:44 Sonata in G major, K. 146 (Allegro)

Henderson mentioned a few things about the sonatas via his YouTube description:

Here are three sonatas that were made famous (on guitar at least) by three of my heroes. The first sonata is inspired by a Spanish saeta, which is a slow religious piece usually for voice and percussion. The repeated rhythm throughout the sonata imitates what the percussion plays, while the florid melodies imitate the singer. One of the gods of guitar Manuel Barrueco recorded this on his famous “300 years of guitar masterpieces” album, which was hugely influential to me. I don’t believe it was published, but it’s a pretty straightforward piece to arrange. The double trills are so fun, I wish the piece had more.

The second sonata is one of my favourites, and in my mind is associated with John William’s Seville Concert recording, although there are earlier recordings. The piece begins with a single voice, then a duet in an almost fugal style, and continues to grow in Scarlatti’s distinct fashion. The light was beautiful that morning so we decided to show off the church a little. Thanks to my amazing wife for making this a much easier process!

The third sonata I first heard on a Leo Brouwer record that my old teacher Eli Kassner played for me. It is a quick little capricious sonata that can be played in less than 2 minutes if you ignore the repeats like I do. Like all my arrangements, i tried to honour the original score, which in this case amounted to substantial differences from the Brouwer arrangement.

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