The Domenico Scarlatti Project

Since 2011, Christoph Ullrich has been recording all 555 surviving harpsichord sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti for the TACET label using a modern Steinway concert grand piano. Twelve double CDs have been released so far: Volume 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, and 15 (see online catalog ). A new double CD is planned to be released annually, with the project expected to be completed by 2028.

Scarlatti's single-movement sonatas exist solely in copies made under his supervision. During his lifetime, they were compiled into 15 volumes, containing 30 sonatas each except for two volumes. These volumes were bequeathed in the will of Scarlatti's longtime patron and gifted pupil, the Spanish Queen Maria Barbara de Braganza, to the castrato Carlo Broschi, who was also known as Farinelli and worked at the Spanish court. After Farinelli's death, his entire estate was dispersed, but fortunately, the 15 volumes ended up in the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice in 1835.

The collection comprises 496 sonatas copied between 1742 and 1757, preceded by the 30 Esercizi, which Scarlatti dedicated to Maria Barbara's father, King Jose V of Portugal, in 1738 as a gesture of gratitude for being knighted. These works are considered part of the sonatas, as they do not differ formally from Scarlatti's later compositions and thus serve as a precursor to his extensive body of late keyboard compositions. The sonatas are numbered according to Ralph Kirkpatrick's catalog (K. 1 – K. 555). Each volume contains the sonatas from one of the central 15 Venetian volumes along with the Esercizi. Additionally, sonatas found in other collections and libraries are inserted according to their chronological order, following Kirkpatrick's numbering.

The project is accompanied by musicologist Thomas Seedorf, who contributes an article on various aspects of Domenico Scarlatti's work and life for each volume.

Intermittently, audio commentaries on Scarlatti, including compositions by contemporary composers and improvisations by performers, will be added as playful supplements to the CDs. For example, Volume 15 includes two improvisations on the sonatas performed jointly with drummer Eric Schäfer.

The productions have been enthusiastically received by music critics:

"Volume 14 also belongs on the list for world cultural heritage." - Martin Hoffmeister, Mitteldeutscher Rundkfunk

"Ullrich waits for the moment when the music begins to float: as if it were one and double, like Goethe's Ginkgo Biloba leaf." - Mirko Weber, Die Zeit

"In this fourth attempt at the Scarlatti complete victory, he manages to perform at a level of expression and finger technique that has only been achieved by a few 'competitors' of past Scarlatti eras." - Peter Cossé, Klassik Heute

"What one really has to admire about Ullrich's performances is the way he not only plays the music but also lives it. The way he nuances and rhetorically enhances the music is remarkable." - Norbert Tischer, Pizzicato

"The incredibly diverse colors that Ullrich is able to evoke lead to the fact that one is literally drawn into this music and wants to continue listening curiously from sonata to sonata." -

"Fortunately, the pianist manages to avoid any academic fatigue. He presents the trifles with sprightly elegance. With a light bounce, transparency, and finely tuned dynamics, he guides us through the sonatas, and before you know it, almost an hour of listening pleasure has passed. Ullrich takes an encyclopedic approach, but the music retains an intuitive element: relaxed and floating." - Anja Renczikowski, Piano News