Some music for the end of the week

The Portuguese composer Carlos Seixas (1704 – 1742) is less well known than he should be. His last name is pronounced something like “Say-shuss”; you can hear it spoken here. He was known for the drama and excitement of his works for the harpsichord, and is probably the best of a very long and exalted line of excellent baroque Portuguese composers. When the great Domenico Scarlatti was living in Portugal, the king’s son arranged for him to give Seixas lessons, but on hearing him Scarlatti commented that it was Seixas who should be teaching him! (A similar story is told of the great 19th century symphonist, Anton Bruckner. As a young man he was encouraged by friends to apply for the job of cathedral organist in a nearby town. So masterful was his playing and improvising that the examining committee said: “He should have examined us!”)

Anyway, here is one of the sonatas of Seixas – a work of astonishing energy given its relative brevity, It is played by Débora Halász, a superb Brazilian pianist and harpsichordist.


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