The harpsichord used for this recording was built in Florence in 1782 by Vincenzio Sodi. The instrument is known for its highly individual timbre and fine construction.
In 2011 was written “Luxury instruments like this were used both for public performance and for musical entertainment within wealthy homes. This one was restored in the 1970s when it
was used for commercial recordings of Scarlatti’s sonatas but is now too delicate for public
In 2013 was written about the instrument: “The Vincenzo Sodi 1782 harpsichord on display at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter is so delicate that it can no longer be played. With the aid of the latest computer technology, Exeter’s Sound Gallery have re-created the entire keyboard as an interactive installation.” (
Released 1976 by Argo Division of The Decca Record Company Limeted London ZK 5
Recorded September 1975 in St. John’s, Smith Square, London.
Produced by Chris Hazel! with sound engineers Stan Goodall and Simon Eadon.
Cover photograph by H. J. Usill.
Sleeve printed in England by Clout & Baker Ltd.
00:00 01. Allegro in A minor, Kirkpatrick ‘532, Longo 223
03:52 02. Vivo in A Major, K.222, L.309
06:34 03. Allegro Molto in A Major, K.212, L.135
10:38 04. Andante in E Major, K.206, L.257
16:37 05. Moderato in C Major (Pastorale) K.513, L. Supplement 3
21:32 06. Allegro in F Major, K.524, L.283
26:11 07. Allegro in F Major, K.525, L.188
28:59 08. Allegro in F minor, K.364, L.436
32:54 09. Allegro in F minor, K.365, L.480
36:37 10. Andante e Cantabile in F minor, K.481, L.187
43:32 11. Allegretto in C Major, K.501, L.l37
46:47 12. Allegro in C Major, K.502, L.3
51:11 13. Allegro in E Flat Major, K.370, L316
54:44 14. Allegro in E Flat Major, K.371, L.l7
Volume 5 of the complete edition of Scarlatti’s sonatas published by Heugel of Paris in the series Le Pupitre contains Sonatas 2, 3 and 4; volume 8 Sonatas 8 ,9, 13 and 14;volume 10 Sonatas 10, 11 and 12; volume II Sonatas 1, 5, 6 and 7.
The harpsichord used for this recording was kindly made available by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, England, to whom it belongs.
A single-manual instrument with two eight-foot stops, it was built in Florence in 1782 by Vincenzio Sodi. Its short scale and cypress soundboard are common to hundreds of earlier Italian harpsichords, but the very heavy poplar case and the substantial barring under the sound board point to its relatively late date. No hand-stops are provided: the jack-rail must be removed before the registers can be altered, so colour changes are ruled out by mechanical, rather than by moral, dissuasion. The compass was initially G to F, but at some (probably quite early) stage, top F sharp and G have been added by taking a string each from E and F and cranking the new keys round to the back register of the original top notes. The harpsichord is strung throughout in brass. From its date and construction the Sodi obviously cannot claim to be the very instrument that Scarlatti played on, although it comes from a city that supplied at least pianos to the Spanish royal fami Iy, but its clarity of attack enables every one of Scarlatti’s inventive and witty modulations to be grasped instantly, and the singing quality of the different vocal registers (notably the powerful, snarling bass, like the trompetas reales reed-stop on a Spanish organ) does justice equally to the Italian shepherds with their bagpipes in Sonata 5 and the Spanish guitarists in the second half of Sonata 3, or to the Stravinskian perpetuum mobile of Sonato 2 and the long slow tunes of Sonatas 4 and 10. This, not the exact matching of dates, seems to me true authenticity