In their two recent recordings, the Houston-based ensemble Ars Lyrica, led by Matthew Dirst, explores some lesser known music by composers with the surname, Scarlatti.
Ars Lyrica’s 2012 recording on the Sono Luminus label of music by Domenico Scarlatti includes the satirical farce La Dirindina, juxtaposed with the chamber cantata Pur nel sonno. La Dirindina was originally intended to serve as a companion piece performed between the three acts of one of Scarlatti’s opera seria, but its racy text about a singer, her teacher, and a famous castrato was banned by the censors, though it was subsequently very successfully published! The CD is completed with two mandolin sonatas that show listeners a different side of Scarlatti, who is remembered almost exclusively for his 555 keyboard sonatas.
In 2009, Ars Lyrica recorded a different program for the Naxos label. That disc included instrumental and vocal music of the composer Alessandro Scarlatti, who was Domenico’s father. The programming for this recording is similar to Ars Lyrica’s 2012 release: two dramatic vocal works frame a harpsichord toccata and a cello sonata. The vocal works on this recording are the oratorio, La concettione della Beata Vergine, along with an earlier piece, Euridice dall’Inferno, recorded here for the first time.