Making a career and some recordings in the USA, pianist Beatrice Long features as the fourth pianist to contribute a volume in the Naxos projected series of the complete sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti. The recording was made in 1996 but not issued until 2002. It will do little to enhance the reputation of the pianist, the series, or Scarlatti himself. There is drama, magic, grandeur and ingenuity aplenty in these single movement works, but little of it is projected here.
It is a well-established fact that our approach to music is generally twofold: this is the physicists' as well as the musicians' doing. One the one hand, music is considered to be based on acoustics, or even mathematics, which ought to give it the status of a science; on the other hand , it is acknowledged that it proceeds from psychological and sociological phenomena which, over the ages, have developed into an art, itself depending on various crafts. There is no longer any contradiction between the two approaches so long as one is prepared to accept them jointly, with enough insight to respect the methods proper to each end of the "chain."
Compiled from pieces that were clearly composed much earlier as well as from more recent works, the Deuxième Livre pays homage to its two masters and calls for tonalities that it had not yet employed; it evokes the past and the great lutenists of that time with the Pavane and yet also contains important innovations. It is truly a transitional work: published at the very dawn of the century, it opened the doors to the important stylistic changes that French music would undergo during the Age of Enlightenment.
C'est à partir d'un “Avertissement” de Marin Marais lui-même, dans son IIe livre de pièces de viole (1701), qu'est née l'idée de cet enregistrement tout à fait original et inédit. En effet, il y invite les musiciens à ne pas jouer le pièces de viole seulement sur la viole : “J'ai eu attention en les composant à les rendre propres pour être joués sur toutes sortes d'instruments comme l'orgue, clavecin, théorbe, luth, violon, flûte allemande…”, et prié les interprètes de “se donner la peine de les mettre sur chaque instrument en particulier”. Il ajoute, dans l'“Avertissement” de son IIIe livre : “Il ne s'agira que d'en savoir faire le choix pour chacun des instrument” (et) remplir le vide entre le sujet et la basse afin de ne pas faire de mauvais sons, ce qui est une règle très essentielle à l'harmonie.”