Frank Rothkamm [ Scarlatti in Venice as a Young Man ]

Scarlatti is the surname of a baroque composer who was born in the city of Naples, which was located in the Kingdom of Naples, now the third-largest municipality in Italy, after Rome and Milan. In anno Domini 1655, 30 years before the birth of our beloved composer, the bubonic plague killed about half the city's 300,000 inhabitants. This neither stopped his subsequent birth nor his appointment as composer and organist to the royal chapel at the tender age of 16. This royal patronage would continue for the rest of his life, where he moved from court to court until his death at the age of 62 in Madrid, in the kingdom of Spain. All periods of his life are documented with the exception of the four years he spent in Venice, in his early 20s.

Venice remained neutral in the War of the Spanish Succession, so Scarlatti must have had a blast. Or did he have a hard time? A lot of immigrants from other European minor states would have been there, because the food was superb and the tradition of tolerance in the Republic of Venice was revered. If you were Jewish you even got your very own ghetto. As Scarlatti was from Spain - Naples was a dominion of the Crown of Castile - he was catholic enough to be considered worthy of patronage. Yet he was an alien, most likely illegal. We don’t know how he crossed the border and no documents of his presence in Venice survive.

When I was 18, I hitchhiked to Venice but could not afford a hotel and therefore slept, like other hitchhikers, in front of the magnificent Venice train station. Until the Carabinieri, Italy’s police force, knocked on my shoulders, woke me up and told me to move. A teenage German laying in his sleeping bag under the clear night skies of Venice was not something they considered aesthetically pleasing. Right they were. In addition, I had almost no money in my pockets as I just came from Greece and still had to make my way back north to West Germany. So my nights were spent escaping from the police and my daytime meals were usually a slice of pizza. This was the best pizza ever. The dough was slightly bubbly, but had a chewiness that was divinely inspired.

The modern pizza was invented in the city of Naples, even though in anno Domini 997 the word "pizza" first appeared in a Latin text from the southern Italian town of Gaeta, then still part of the Byzantine Empire. Scarlatti was from Naples, then still part of Spain. I was from Gütersloh, which was, 16 years prior to my birth, still part of a British Occupation Zone. From that same year (anno Domini 1949) comes a part of my instrument collection here in View Park, which is part of Los Angeles County. It is an Acrosonic, which is part of Baldwin, a spinet piano that does not hold its tuning very well. But at the time Scarlatti was in Venice there was no equal temperament, which is the way we tune and compromise everything, and I mean everything, today.

In anno Domini 2015, I sat down in front of this uniquely tuned spinet piano, and was in full accordance with the methods of the Lodge For Utopian Science, when a spirit came over me and transmitted 5 keyboard sonatas. It should be certain now, as the sun always rises in the East and by all arguments presented in this document, that these are the lost works of Scarlatti in Venice as a Young Man.

Catalog No: FLX75 (LN101)
Title: Scarlatti in Venice as a Young Man
Sound Artist: Frank Rothkamm
Label: Flux Records
Length: 40:33 (2433s)
Composed: 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Instruments: Acrosonic spinet piano (1949)
Release Date: 12/12/2016
Format: Digital
Tags: classical
Solo Piano
209 ALBUMs
1100 TRACKs
112 PDFs

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