Hyperion Records

Sonata a 5 in C major
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It is normally thought that the first trumpet sonatas were written in Bologna. The earliest printed trumpet sonatas were certainly published in 1665 by Maurizio Cazzati, maestro di capella at San Petronio in Bologna between 1657 and 1671, and the archives at San Petronio contain a large repertory of sonatas, sinfonias and concertos with trumpets. However, there are trumpet sonatas surviving in manuscripts in northern European libraries that may be just as early or even earlier. A case in point is the sonata by the Roman composer and singer Alessandro Melani. It is found in manuscript at Uppsala in Sweden, probably copied in the 1680s or ’90s though a shorter version for a single trumpet in an Oxford manuscript may go back to the middle of the century. The piece is in an early style and is in C major rather than D major, the standard key for later Italian trumpet music. The piece is also unusual in that the violin parts are in scordatura (using violins tuned b-e'-b'-e'' instead of g-d'-a'-e''). It is not clear whether that was part of Melani’s original conception, though it certainly creates an unusual and attractive sonority.

from notes by Peter Holman © 2003

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