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Domenico Scarlatti

The first keyboard works by Scarlatti to be published were the so-named Essercizi (30) per gravicembalo, of which this G minor work was the concluding and perhaps most distinctive, piece. Though the publication dates to 1738, this work, like many of the others in that volume, may have been written some years before that. This sonata's nickname, "The Cat's Fugue," came from composer Muzio Clementi, probably a cat owner, and a man with an imagination vivid enough to associate the sometimes acrobatic movements of the player in this work with those of a meddlesome cat on the keyboard. As its nickname suggests, this sonata, marked Moderato, is a fugue and one of the composer's more serious early works. While Scarlatti rarely wrote music that invoked the style or spirit of Bach, this work presents a noble if somber theme whose fugal aspects suggest Bach. Still, the work is clearly from the pen of Scarlatti, whose imaginative development of the main material in the latter half of the work effectively deepens its expressive range. This sonata typically has a duration of three-and-a-half minutes.