Sonata in B-flat major, K. 545 - Domenico Scarlatti

The Sonata in B-flat major, K. 545, by Domenico Scarlatti, is a pivotal piece that showcases the composer's innovative approach to the keyboard sonata genre. Distinct from Mozart’s K. 545, which shares the same Köchel number but in the context of a different catalog, Scarlatti's piece is an excellent representation of his contribution to solo piano literature. This work exemplifies Scarlatti's skill in blending Iberian folk music elements with the refined style of the Baroque period, offering a unique challenge to performers and a delightful experience to listeners. Its exploration of varied keyboard textures and techniques marks it as a significant stepping stone in the evolution of keyboard music.

Historical Context of Sonata in B-flat major, K. 545

The Sonata in B-flat major, K. 545, was composed during a prolific period in Domenico Scarlatti's life, when he was deeply entrenched in the development of his own musical language. Unlike many of his other sonatas, which were published posthumously, the exact date of this piece remains uncertain. Thus, it is believed to be part of his later works, revealing a mature composition style.

Scarlatti's sonatas, K. 545 included, were primarily intended for private performances or small aristocratic gatherings, rather than public concerts. This specific sonata, like others by Scarlatti, was likely composed for his student and patroness, Princess Maria Barbara of Portugal, evidencing the intimate and personal nature of his compositions.

The piece was first published in the 18th century, within a collection of Scarlatti's sonatas. Over the years, it has been included in numerous compilations and studied extensively by pianists and musicologists alike, cementing its place in the classical piano repertoire.

Music Theory Analysis of the Sonata

The Sonata in B-flat major, K. 545, is structured in a single movement, typical of Scarlatti’s sonatas, which diverges from the multi-movement form used by his contemporaries. This piece unfolds in a binary form, where each section is repeated, adhering to the A-B-A format that invites thematic development and variation within a concise structure.

Harmonically, the sonata reveals Scarlatti's masterful control of modulation and chromaticism. It commences in the home key of B-flat major, with an exposition that introduces the primary thematic material. This material undergoes various transformations throughout the piece, weaving through closely related keys to create a dynamic and engaging harmonic journey.

Rhythmically, Scarlatti employs intricate figures and syncopations that lend the sonata a distinctive Spanish flair, a hallmark of his style. The use of ornamentation and articulate phrasing throughout the composition challenges performers to navigate its technical demands while maintaining the expressive qualities of the music.

The Enduring Popularity of Scarlatti's Sonata in B-flat major

The Sonata in B-flat major, K. 545, enjoys lasting popularity among pianists and audiences alike, largely due to its vibrant energy and emotional depth. Scarlatti's innovative technique, which includes crossing hands and employing diverse keyboard textures, significantly contributed to the piece's appeal, offering a glimpse into the future of piano music.

Music educators and students frequently turn to this sonata for both its pedagogical value and its capacity to enrich technical skills. Its engaging melody and harmonious structure make it a favored piece for performance, study, and personal enjoyment.


In summary, Domenico Scarlatti's Sonata in B-flat major, K. 545, exemplifies the composer's distinctive approach to the keyboard sonata, blending technical innovation with melodious charm. As a vital component of the classical piano repertoire, this piece continues to captivate performers and audiences, reflecting Scarlatti's enduring legacy in the realm of keyboard music.

Publication date: 23. 03. 2024