Bartók probably first played pieces by Domenico Scarlatti in public in 1911. During the next two decades he featured them in his piano recitals more than 60 times. His dedication to Italian and French Baroque music is also illustrated by the fact that in 1920, he signed a contract with the Budapest publisher Rozsnyai to edit seven volumes of Baroque keyboard music. His plan was to select compositions by Couperin and Rameau in addition to pieces by Scarlatti, but during the 1920s it ended up being only two volumes of Couperin and another two comprising ten compositions by Scarlatti. In editing these masterpieces, Bartók's aim was primarily to counterbalance or even overshadow the works by the "Mendelssohn-Schumann epigones" used in primary and secondary musical education.
The present single-volume collection comprises Bartók's two Scarlatti volumes, complete with an editorial preface, his detailed performing instructions, and his commentary. The editor recommends these compositions for pianists with at least five years' experience, and give practical recommendations for the grouping of individual items to form charming "sonatina-like" sets of pieces.