26 October 2023
Via Scarlatti is one of the Centre Européen de Musique's programmes developed with a wide network of partners across Europe. La Via Scarlatti was presented on 25 October 2023 at the launch ceremony of the Centre Européen de Musique (CEM) Portugal, held at the National Palace Library in Mafra (Portugal).
Performance of the music "Passarola - Variations on the Past and Future K.87", by Pedro Emanuel Pereira, Rui Gato and Vítor Joaquim at the ceremony on 25 October 2023 in Mafra.
The Via Scarlatti aims to bring together Spain, Italy, Portugal and France in a highly creative and profound way, around the emblematic figure of Domenico Scarlatti. This composer with a European soul was born in 1685, an important year in the history of music, since Bach and Handel were also born in that year. Scarlatti represents the importance of music in the construction of European cultural identity. Whether through his musical and geographical travels, or through the internalisation of unified European diversity in musical pieces, Scarlatti reflects the importance of musicians as builders of a unified and diverse Europe.
A composer and a man of culture, Scarlatti was also a trailblazer. He revolutionised the art of the harpsichord and drew inspiration from Italian, Spanish and Portuguese music. As Saramago wrote, Scarlatti closely followed the invention of the "Passarola" by Father Bartolomeu de Gusmão. He was also a great friend and companion of the architect Filippo Juvarra, who arrived in Lisbon in 1719 to plan what was to become the new waterfront, including the royal palace and a monumental lighthouse at the beginning of the Tagus. When he arrived in Spain, accompanying Maria Bárbara de Bragança, the eldest daughter of King João V and Queen of Spain, he also influenced the entire musical and cultural landscape of the country, passing on the art of playing the harpsichord in France on his travels to Paris. Scarlatti's geographical origins are well known. He was born in Italy, in Naples, in 1685, then travelled to Rome and Venice; he arrived in Portugal around 1720, moved between Lisbon and Mafra, then to Paris, and left for Spain in 1729, passing through Madrid and Seville before dying in Toledo in 1757.
With this immense figure as a source of inspiration, the "Via Scarlatti Culture and Innovation as the Soul of Europe" programme explores the historical period of the first part of the 18th century, which was of considerable importance for Spain, Italy, Portugal and France, and transposes it into the present and future as an example of sustainable and innovative European construction. On the one hand, this programme will deepen our knowledge of Scarlatti's relationship with and impact on Italy, Portugal, Spain and France, as well as the geographical, social and cultural influences of these countries on his music; but it will also reveal many other little-known dimensions of his importance in other disciplines, such as the arts and architecture. Finally, this programme will also establish a dialogue between this historical period and the present and future, involving creative artists and researchers from different countries.