There are connections between the King Arthur
symphony of Purcell and Gottfried Finger’s Sonata in C major for trumpet, violin, oboe and continuo; not only are they scored apparently for the same combination, but the symphony and the first section of the sonata are based on similar themes. Finger came to England from his native Moravia around 1685 and served in James II’s Catholic chapel before working in London’s theatres and concert halls in the 1690s; he supposedly left England in 1701 in disgust after coming last in the competition to set Congreve’s The Judgement of Paris
. Finger’s three C major sonatas survive in an early eighteenth-century manuscript collection of trumpet sonatas and other instrumental works in the British Library and may have been written to be performed during services in the Catholic chapel. They all use the ‘patchwork’ design beloved by Austrian composers (in which a number of contrasted sections are woven into a single large movement), and they have a number of witty moments. The moto perpetuo
last section of the Sonata for trumpet, violin and oboe, with its surprise last chord, is particularly delightful.
from notes by Peter Holman © 1995