The richness of five-part instrumental writing was not new to the 18th century: German, Italian and French composers had all been exploiting this sonority for decades.
But it was Georg Muffatt, born in Savoy of Scottish parentage, who for the first time aimed to reconcile these styles into a single genre. His music, remarkable in its expressive range, combines the sophistication and rhythmic poise of the French, the vibrancy and colour of the Italians and the depth and richness of the Germans. Paired here with works by Biber and Schmelzer, both groundbreaking in their intricate, pictorial details, we celebrate the first tranche of composers to truly push the boundaries of technical ability on the violin.
Francesco Navara: Sinfonia à 5 in C major
Georg Muffat: Sonata à 5 Armonico Tributo No 1
Heinrich Biber: Sonata Representativa
Johann Rosenmüller: Selection from Sinfonie da Camera
Johann Schmelzer: Fencing School
Biber: Balletti Lamentabile a 4
Georg Muffat: Sonata à 5 Armonico Tributo No 5