Video Pick of the Week: Adam Cicchillitti Plays Scarlatti’s Joyful Sonata K. 209


There’s nothing quite like a dose of Baroque music to elevate the spirit and stimulate the senses. This fantastic rendering of Sonata K. 209 by Domenico Scarlatti (1685–1757) is a case in point. Adam Cicchillitti is one of the current generation of exceptional guitarists emerging from Canadaoriginally from Montreal, he’s now based in Ottawa, where he earned his master’s degree at the University there, founded the guitar program at Ottawa Suzuki Strings, and sits on the board of the Ottawa Guitar Society. Besides being a superb solo player, Cicchillitti has also worked extensively as an accompanist for singers, such as baritones Philippe Courchesne and Philippe Sly, for whom he has worked on numerous arrangements of pieces originally written for piano and voice.

This Scarlatti sonata (he wrote 555 of them!) was originally for keyboard, as well. We asked Adam to tell us a little about working on these sorts of works, and this is what he said:


“Over the course of the past few years, I have arranged dozens of pieces originally written with piano accompaniment for guitar. I am now delving into arranging solo keyboard music for one or two guitars. Though much has been written regarding the theory of arranging for classical guitar, I find it particularly important to study arrangements that have already been published by great guitarists and to compare them to the Urtext or original composer manuscript. This has permitted me to work with a solid foundation, but I have also learned to import my own interpretive choices with regards to voice-leading and tessitura that often clash with the original arrangement. In this particular arrangement by Manuel Barrueco, I have incorporated the bulk of his original arrangement but have changed significant parts to be more representative of the Urtext, including melodic lines that he removed in order to presumably make the work more playable. This joyful tune is one of my favourite Baroque pieces!”

And now we’re guessing it will be one of yours, too. By the way, the superb video production is by Drew Henderson.        —Blair Jackson