Domenico Scarlatti’s 550 sonatas are a monument of the harpsichord literature. Composed mostly in Portugal over the course of his lifetime, these short pieces were premiered primarily by his musical successors after Scarlatti’s death. Scarlatti’s sonatas resemble suites, and have little relation to the sonata form as we know it today, a form that was established during the classical period. Today, Scarlatti’s sonatas are performed regularly on the piano and, since the advent of the early music movement, on harpsichord. In July 2012, we find Alexandre Tharaud on the stage in Verbier’s church, a guest of the prestigious Verbier Festival, presenting a recital of Scarlatti’s best-known sonatas.
In 2011, Alexandre Tharaud had just released a critically-acclaimed CD of Scarlatti Sonatas with Virgin Classics. As Classica magazine’s Christophe Huss described it: “Here is Scarlatti at its most physical, its most epicurean… With sonorous perfection and unheard-of artistic liberty, we have here one of the best CD’s of 2011.” It is most likely this magnificent CD that earned Alexandre Tharaud the title of Instrumental Artist of the Year the following year at the Victoires de la musique classique.