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The Sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti

in the Diözensanbibliotek Münster

A possible source of the origin of the manuscripts


In his 1970, unpublished, dissertation Professor Joel Sheveloff identified four major collections of the keyboard sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti, two Spanish and two Italian in origin.

Since there is no known autograph copies of Scarlatti’s works two copies which originated in Spain have been accepted as the definitive source of these works. These have been identified by the name of the place where they currently reside, Parma and Venezia.

Two further sets have also been considered as important sources. One is held in the Diözensanbibliothek, Münster and another held in the Bibliothek. der Gesellschaft der. Musikfreunde, Vienna. Both of which were owned by the Roman Bibliophile Fortunato Santini.

The latter two collections have been accepted by scholars since the 1930’s as being derived from the Parma and Venezia sets in Italy during the latter half of the eighteenth century.

 Until recently the names of scribes of the Münster sources have been unknown. Sheveloff identified two major scribes of these manuscripts, which he called M1 and M2.

 During the cataloguing of the Santini Collection in Münster it was noticed that one of the hands was identical to a collection of manuscripts under the name of A. Reggio.  Recently this A. Reggio has been identified as Monsignor Antonino Reggio.

Scar Mun

First page of Scarlatti Sonata (K380) in Reggio’s hand  (Tomo IV, No 47)
SANT Hs 3967. (Courtesy Diözesanbibliotek, Münster)


First page of Sonata per Cembalo in C min (Opera Terza) SANT Hs 3391 No. XI
(Courtesy Diözesanbibliotek, Münster)

This section investigates the Münster Manuscripts in the light of this new evidence. It proposes the idea that the Münster set originates closer to the original Spanish source than just copies of copies as suggested by Sheveloff et al.

 Using Sheveloff’s detailed analysis of the manuscripts and the known connections of the Reggio  in Spain at the time of Scarlatti, it looks at the possible origins of the manuscripts and their significance in our understanding of Scarlatti’s works.

©Anthony Hart  2011