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His older brother Pietro Filippo was also a musician. Scarlatti first studied music under his father. Soon afterward, his father sent him to Venice. It was in Rome that he met Thomas Roseingrave. Scarlatti was already an accomplished harpsichordist : there is a story of a trial of skill with George Frideric Handel at the palace of Cardinal Ottoboni in Rome where he was judged possibly superior to Handel on the harpsichord , although inferior on the organ.
Scarlatti has been heralded as the "greatest Italian harpsichord composer of all time". He was Maestro di Cappella at St. There he taught music to the Portuguese princess Maria Magdalena Barbara. In he moved to Seville , staying for four years.
In he went to Madrid as a music master to Princess Maria Barbara, who had married into the Spanish royal house. The Princess later became Queen of Spain.
Scarlatti remained in the country for the remaining twenty-five years of his life and had five children there. After the death of his first wife in , he married a Spaniard, Anastasia Maxarti Ximenes.
Among his compositions during his time in Madrid were most of the keyboard sonatas for which he is best known.
Scarlatti befriended the castrato singer Farinelli , a fellow Neapolitan also enjoying royal patronage in Madrid. Domenico Scarlatti died in Madrid , at the age of His residence on Calle Leganitos is designated with a historical plaque, and his descendants still live in Madrid. He was buried at a convent there, in Madrid, but his grave no longer exists.
Minor planet Scarlatti is named in his honour.
Keyboard Sonata in C minor, K.11 (Scarlatti, Domenico)