As a contrast to the major-key and generally lively trumpet works, we have included some contemporary examples of four-part string sonatas. The sonata à quattro was less popular at the time than the ubiquitous trio sonata, and is rather neglected today, though it contains a wealth of fine music with a preponderance of introspective, minor-key works. It is also of interest in that the genre is the true ancestor of the Classical string quartet. The sonatas by Cazzati and Vitali are typical examples of Bolognese four-part sonatas: they are relatively brief, are full of dense counterpoint and have chromatic sections. Vitali was born in Bologna and studied with Cazzati, though he spent most of his career at the Modenese court.
from notes by Peter Holman © 2003