One of Tomoko’s piano albums, “Baroque-20th Century,” displays the range of styles over three centuries. The earliest selection is “Follia” by Alessandro Scarlatti, an Italian baroque composer.
Scarlatti was born in Palermo 1660 into a musical family. His children also carried on the family musical tradition. Fortunately, when his family moved to Rome, Scarlatti had many opportunities to enter the musical sphere. Soon thereafter he gained the patronage of Sweden’s Queen Christina. He also produced several operas for the viceroy of Naples and the Romans. Indeed, his operas constitute his major musical heritage, although he also contributed significant compositions in church music and instrumental music, including piano composition. In terms of financial recognition, Scarlatti experienced early acclaim, but suffered lifelong financial setbacks.
Tomoko performed “Follia,” which form probably started as a 15th century Portuguese folk dance. The generic ferm “folia” applied to a Baroque template for variations of songs and dances that could be rendered into instrumental music. The form was recognized by its chord progressions, metric patterns, and rhythms. Scarlatti was credited for his piano adaptations of folia, composed in 1715.
Tomoko recognizes Scarlatti’s musical contribution as it informs her performance and background to share with her students.